Lot 5
  • 5

Egon Schiele

Estimate
1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
Sold
2,055,000 USD
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Description

  • Egon Schiele
  • Stehendes Mädchen im Hemd, mit schwarzen Strümpfen und rotem Tuch (Standing Female in Shirt with Black Stockings and Red Scarf)
     
  • Signed with the initial S. and dated 1911. (lower left)
  • Gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper

Provenance

Gustav Nebehay, Vienna (acquired from the artist in 1918)

Christian M. Nebehay, Vienna (by descent from the above)

Thence by descent

Exhibited

Vienna, Gustav Nebehay Kunsthandlung, Die Zeichnung: Egon Schiele, 1919, no. 145

New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, 1965, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue

Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, 2. Internationale der Zeichnung, 1967, no. 29, illustrated in the catalogue

Munich, Haus der Kunst, Egon Schiele 1890-1918, 1975, no. 148, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Akt, sich entkleidend)

Literature

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, London, 1990, no. 817, illustrated p. 441

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. 817, illustrated p. 441

Catalogue Note

Schiele’s early watercolors and drawings of nude or scantily clad women are some of the most technically sophisticated and provocative images in the history of Western Art. While these raw and often vulnerable depictions of young women caused a great deal of scandal during Schiele’s lifetime, the artist’s more prescient contemporaries, including his mentor Gustav Klimt, recognized the unmatched sophistication and perspicacity in his rendering of the human form. Stehendes Mädchen im Hemd, mit Schwarzen Strümpfen und Rotem Tuch, which Schiele executed at the age of twenty-one during the pivotal year of 1911, is a hauntingly beautiful example of Schiele’s early Expressionistic work.

Although not depicted fully nude, the female subject in Stehendes Mädchen im Hemd, mit Schwarzen Strümpfen und Rotem Tuch radiates a palpable erotic appeal, achieved through her intimate garments partially revealing her chest and legs, her averted gaze, and the mere act of undressing. Unlike Schiele’s more explicitly sexual drawings of this period, in the present work Schiele succeeds in rendering the figure with an almost classical sense of beauty, with the figure emphasized by a halo-like embracing line of white gouache, characteristic of his works from this period. As Jane Kallir notes, “Schiele likes to divide the sheet into discrete color areas, each bounded and determined by the contours of the underlying drawing and treated in a distinctive manner, but whereas in the early part of 1911 these areas are filled more or less solidly, by midyear a multitude of colors is deployed in each moist puddle of pigment. This new command of the medium is used to create more subtle contrasts between compositional components; for example, the painterly complexity of the drapery plays off against flesh barely touched with color" (J. Kallir, Op. cit., New York, 1998, p. 433).

The bold play of lines and superimpositions, as well as the carefully constructed use of negative space evident in the present work, reflect Schiele’s lingering debt to Gustav Klimt. As in other compositions of 1911, this work demonstrates Schiele’s interest in the balance of negative and positive space and the interplay of solids and voids. Whereas Klimt played off the contrast between realistically rendered facial features and ornamental clothing, Schiele contrasted his subjects’ expressive physicality with minimalist garments. The bold tonal combinations of his favored red-orange, black and white of early 1911, as seen in Stehendes Mädchen im Hemd, mit Schwarzen Strümpfen und Rotem Tuch, give way to a muted palette of blue, black and purple  tones in the latter part of that year. His line is unwavering in its careful progress toward the creation of form, yet the thin, sometimes faint outlines of musculature remain remarkably ethereal thanks to his painterly prowess. Peter Vergo observes: “The propensity to deposit a narrow band of color along principal edges of a form, observed already in 1911, became more pronounced: color washes glide across the central surface and then accumulate in the darker gullies along the periphery... The rounded outlines of his nudes are so soft they appear almost to be melting. His colors, often diluted with white, are equally delicate” (P. Vergo, The Radical Nude (exhibition catalogue), The Courtauld Gallery, London, 2014, pp. 191-92). 

The present work was formerly in the collection of Gustav Nebehay, the dealer of Gustav Klimt in fin-de-siècle Vienna. In 1917, Nebehay met Schiele, whose studio was not far from where Nebehay spent the summer. Nebehay soon became Schiele’s advisor, publishing the first catalogue of drawings by the young artist, and he represented the artist until Schiele’s untimely death in October 1918. Gustav Nebehay subsequently acted as executor of both Schiele and Klimt’s estates, organizing the first posthumous exhibition of Schiele’s works on paper in 1919. After Gustav Nebehay passed away in 1935, his son Christian M. Nebehay took over the business and, in 1947, opened his own antiquarian bookshop in Annagasse, Vienna, which still exists today. Christian M. Nebehay was one of the most important Klimt biographers, publishing many books on both Klimt and Schiele.

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