Lot 382
  • 382

Egon Schiele

250,000 - 350,000 USD
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  • Egon Schiele
  • Sitzender Akt von vorn (Seated Nude, Front View)
  • Black crayon on paper
  • 16 3/4 by 8 in.
  • 42.5 by 20.3 cm


Private Collection, Switzerland (and sold: Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, June 6, 1957, lot 655)
Frank Perls, Beverly Hills (acquired at the above sale)
Felix Landau, Beverly Hills 
Private Collection (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 1986, lot 129)
Acquired at the above sale


Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, London, 1990, no. 2042, illustrated p. 586
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Expanded Edition, New York, 1998, no. 2042, illustrated p. 586


The work is in good condition. The line is extremely strong. There is a partial drawing, most likely in the artist's hand on the reverse. Executed on cream wove paper. There are traces of old mounting tape along the reverse of the top edge and to the top left and right corners. These are obscured by the mat. There is uniform light time fading to paper, commensurate with age. Light surface dirt and pigment (seen in the catalogue photograph) in the background to the right of the figure, possibly original to the work. Further light colour wash to lower right edge which also appears to be original to the work. The edges of the sheet appear to have been trimmed resulting in the unusual dimensions, definitely on the left edge and possible somewhat on the right edge.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1917, Egon Schiele’s Sitzender Akt von vorn (Seated Nude, Front View) is an arresting image of a female nude that reflects the artist's obsession with the allure and eroticism of the female figure. The present work was executed after Schiele was finally released from his military duties and only one year before his premature death at the age of twenty-eight. Schiele returned to Vienna with a refreshed artistic vigor that he expressed to his brother-in-law, Anton Peschka, in January 1917: “I want to start anew… until now I have just been preparing the tools” (quoted in Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele, Drawings & Watercolours, London, 2003, p. 384). This was indeed the start of a period of great creative prolificacy and professional stability for Schiele, who had reached both an artistic and emotional maturity. Evident in his drawings of female nudes is a return to classical ideals including a shift toward realism and the depiction of three-dimensional forms that resulted in rounder and softer women. While still maintaining their powerful expressiveness, these nudes do not possess the same erotic anxiety of his earlier works and, instead, radiate a more timeless beauty.     

Schiele depicts the woman with a delightful clarity of line that is characteristic of his late drawings. Jane Kallir praises Schiele’s draughtsmanship by stating, “Few artists in history have managed to express the spirit of their subjects with such economy of means. In his nudes, Schiele strove for purity of form; in his portraits, for purity of being. With the precision of stop-action photography, Schiele could catch a moving body, or the flicker of emotion—a quivering lip, a furrowed brow—as it passed fleetingly across a sitter’s face. In this, he ranks alongside such artists as Hans Holbein as one of the greatest draughstmen of all times. Because Schiele plumbed the very souls of his subjects, his drawings remain as fresh and vital today as they were when made” (ibid., p. 442).

The artist’s fascination with depicting the human figure can be dated back to as early as 1910, but his later drawings of women, such as the present work, are truly displays of the pleasure he found in his quest to render beauty. Schiele masterfully renders this female nude with crisp lines that artfully capture her casual sensuousness and exemplify the artist’s unique understanding of the human form and character.

Kallir has also noted that these late drawings are among Schiele's best and most appealing: "Schiele—and by extension the viewer—are no longer participants in a process of sexual exploration, but merely voyeurs. It is not a coincidence that nudes from Schiele's late period have for years been much sought after by collectors. These women are exquisite objects of delectation" (ibid., p. 390).