Lot 20
  • 20

EGON SCHIELE | Sitzender Frauenakt mit Geneigtem Kopf und Erhobenen Armen (Seated Female Nude with Tilted Head and Raised Arms)

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
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  • Egon Schiele
  • Sitzender Frauenakt mit Geneigtem Kopf und Erhobenen Armen (Seated Female Nude with Tilted Head and Raised Arms)
  • Signed with the initial S. and dated 10. (lower right)
  • Gouache, watercolor and black crayon on paper
  • 17 5/8 by 12 1/4 in.
  • 44.8 by 31.1 cm
  • Executed in 1910.


Sale: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Stuttgart, November 26-27, 1957, lot 940

Serge Sabarsky, New York

Private Collection, New York (acquired from the estate of the above and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 21, 2004, lot 30)

Private Collection, London (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, May 5, 2009, lot 17)

Acquired at the above sale


Tokyo, The Seibu Museum of Art, Egon Schiele, 1979, no. 19, illustrated in the catalogue

Vienna, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien; Linz, Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz; Munich, Museum Villa Stuck & Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Egon Schiele: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, 1981-82, no. 19, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Hôtel de Ville, Salle Saint-Jean; Kaiserslautern, Pfalzgalerie; Bolzano, Museo Civico & Turin, Palazzo Reale, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele: Dessins et aquarelles, 1984-85, no. 65, illustrated in the catalogue

Tokyo, Isetan Museum; Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum; Nara, Prefectorial Museum; Kofu City, Yamanshi Prefectural Museum & Kamakura Museum of Art, Egon Schiele und Wien zur Jahrhundertwende, 1986, no. 28, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Vienna, Bawag Foundation & traveling, Egon Schiele; 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 1988-97, no. 42, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Roslyn, Nassau County Museum of Art, Egon Schiele. A Centennial Retrospective, 1990, no. 20, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Serge Sabarsky, Egon Schiele: Disegni erotici, Milan, 1981, illustrated pl. 2

Serge Sabarsky, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings, New York, 1983, illustrated pl. 3

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. 512, illustrated p. 406

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1910, the present work is a striking example of Egon Schiele's nudes, which characterize the early Expressionist period of his career and display his bold experimentation and innovation. The figures executed during this period are beautifully colored with transparent flesh tones and explicit in the physicality of their poses. Schiele explored the human figure in depth, creating highly charged compositions by depicting his subjects in variously contorted postures and exaggerating their physical features. Delineated in sharp contours of black crayon, accented by hair, lips and nipples rendered in jewel-like strokes of red pigment, Sitzender Frauenakt mit geneigtem Kopf und erhobenen Armen demonstrates the artist's skill as a draughtsman and his obsession with the sensuous quality of the human form. Egon Schiele is often considered the Wunderkind of the early twentieth-century avant-garde for his candid pictorial explorations of the human body. The greater part of his remarkable oeuvre, mostly works on paper, was completed within the span of a decade before he died of the Spanish flu at the age of twenty-eight. As a young art student working in Vienna in the first decade of the 1900s, he became a close acquaintance of Gustav Klimt, the celebrated painter of the Viennese Belle Époque. Klimt instantly recognized the younger artist's exceptional talent as a draughtsman, and supposedly even regarded Schiele's skill as being far superior to his own. According to one account, Schiele had once shown some drawings to Klimt and asked for his criticism, to which Klimt allegedly responded, "But you already know more than I do" (S. Sabarsky, Egon Schiele, 1890-1918, A Centennial Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, 1990, p. 13).

By the time he completed the present work in 1910 Schiele had fully emerged from the influence of Klimt and developed his own aesthetic. His stylistic development over the course of the year was remarkable. Through countless figure studies he refined his line, while employing limpid watercolor washes to enhance and animate his models. Discussing this pivotal early stage of the artist's career, Jane Kallir wrote: "Though the Expressionist breakthrough is heralded in some 1909 drawings, the speed and extremity of Schiele's development in 1910 are such that his work leaves all prior efforts far behind. There is no precedent for the radical, garishly twisted nudes that appear almost at the very start of the year" (J. Kallir, op. cit., p. 391). As in other works of this period, Schiele here used black crayon to produce a dark, striking contour. By applying complementary hues in isolated patches that merge and overlap at the edges, Schiele highlights the critical, focal elements of his nudes, inviting the viewer in. Within the present work, the focus of his attention is on the figure's head, her dreamy face enveloped in brightly colored hair, as well as on the sharply outlined, angular arms that stand in sharp contrast to the soft curves of her body. Schiele’s technical virtuosity, highly original vision and fearless depictions of the naked figure distinguish his nudes as being among his most significant contributions to the development of modern art.

Sitzender Frauenakt mit geneigtem Kopf und erhobenen Armen was formerly in the collection of Serge Sabarsky, the renowned art dealer and leading authority on German and Austrian Expressionist Art. Over the course of some forty years of collecting, Sabarsky amassed one of the most important collections of works by Schiele, as well as by Gustav Klimt, Erich Heckel, Max Beckmann and Otto Dix. Today, key holdings from the Sabarsky collection form the core of the Neue Galerie in New York.