Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
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Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Kniendes Mädchen, sich den Rock über den Kopf ziehend

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Kniendes Mädchen, sich den Rock über den Kopf ziehend
signed with the initial and dated ‘S, 10.’ (lower right); inscribed ‘N° 92’ (lower right)
gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper
17 5/8 x 12 1/4 in. (45 x 31.1 cm.)
Executed in 1910
Frank S. Hermann, Munich & New Jersey, by whom acquired directly from the artist.
The Bayer Gallery, New York, by November 1960.
Isabelle R. Peck, New York.
Norman Granz, Geneva; sale, Kornfeld und Klipstein, Bern, 29 May 1964, lot 1158.
Marlborough Fine Art, London, by October 1964 until at least March 1969.
Meshulam Riklis, Tel Aviv & New York.
Fischer Fine Art, London, by June 1975 until at least November 1976.
Serge Sabarsky, New York.
Charles Tabachnick, Toronto, by 1981.
Anonymous sale, Christie’s, London, 24 June 1986, lot 338.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
Arts Magazine, October 1960, p. 51 (illustrated).
S. Wilson, Egon Schiele, Oxford, 1980, p. 34 (illustrated pl. 27).
S. Sabarsky, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings, New York, 1981, no. 6, p. 88 (illustrated pl. 6).
W. G. Fischer, Egon Schiele: 1890-1918, Pantomimen der Lust, Visionen der Sterblichkeit, Cologne, 1994, p. 80 (illustrated).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, London, 1998, no. 561, p. 411 (illustrated).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Art Fair 1960, December 1960, no. b-4, n.p..
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Egon Schiele: Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, October 1964, no. 41, p. 41.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolours, 1909-1918, February - March 1969, no. 2, p. 13 (illustrated p. 20).
London, Fischer Fine Art, Egon Schiele: Watercolours, Drawings, Graphics, June - July 1975, no. 11, n.p. (illustrated on the cover).
Paris, Galerie Octave Negru, Egon Schiele: dessins et aquarelles, February - April 1976, no. 8, n.p. (illustrated n.p.).
London, Fischer Fine Art, Universe of Art V: Important 19th and 20th Century Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture and Graphics, November 1976, no. 44, p. 17 (illustrated p. 48).
New York, Gagosian Gallery, Egon Schiele: Nudes, March - April 1994, no. 2, n.p. (illustrated pl. 2).
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Sehnsucht nach Glück, Wiens Aufbruch in die Moderne: Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele, September - December 1995, no. 187, p. 335 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele: Master Draughtsman, November 1997 - January 1998, no. 15, n.p..
(Probably) Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Austria im Rosennetz: l'Autriche visionnaire, February - July 1998.
Massachusetts, Harvard University Busch-Reisinger Museum, 'As though my body were naught but ciphers': Crises of Representation in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, February - June 2005.
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Coming of Age: Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth, November 2005 - January 2006, no. 49, n.p. (illustrated n.p.).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele’s Women, October - December 2012, no. 12, n.p..
Special notice
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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

Executed in 1910, Kniendes Mädchen, sich den Rock über den Kopf ziehend belongs to a fertile and exploratory period in Egon Schiele's oeuvre, when many of his finest works were produced. Dropping out of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1909 granted Schiele new found personal independence, and access to new artistic influences that set in motion rapid stylistic changes which would propel his career as an artist. The conflict between decorative abstraction and realism, prevalent in the figural paintings of Schiele’s mentor Gustav Klimt, was resolved as Schiele developed a powerfully expressive pictorial language which balanced form and representation. The year 1910 in particular marks a decisive turning point in his creative development: effaced in the Jugendstil design, human aspect assumed dominance in Schiele’s works. From here on the nude would come to play a central role in his drawings and watercolours. A further stylistic shift occurred in the second half of 1910, when Schiele’s palette changed from bright acidic colours to a combination of dusky, autumnal shades – mauves, blacks, browns, and deeper shades of blue – as seen in the present lot.

Executed in a combination of watercolour, gouache and pencil, Kniendes Mädchen, sich den Rock über den Kopf ziehend depicts a semi-nude sitter. In the transitionary years of early adulthood, the subject projects the poignant combination of naiveté and sexual precocity that accompanies this period. Whereas children had been associated with purity by the conservative societies of the 19th Century, due to the growing popularity of Sigmund Freud’s Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, childhood became closely associated with primitive sexual impulses. Having turned 20 in June 1910, Schiele was in many ways himself still an adolescent, albeit having achieved early maturity as an artist. Young women, often in various stages of undress, feature in Schiele’s oeuvre with recurring frequency between 1910 and 1911. Such figures from poorer areas of Vienna were not only willing to pose for significantly smaller amounts of money than professional models or even prostitutes, but, perhaps more importantly for Schiele, they also had an air of nonchalance and unrestraint which allowed him to explore human nature in its most uninhibited form.

Kniendes Mädchen, sich den Rock über den Kopf ziehend encapsulates the increasing confidence Schiele had developed in the use of watercolour and gouache, as well as his innate technical ability as a draughtsman. The elegant unbroken lines, following the contours of the sitter’s youthful figure, enable her to be depicted simultaneously in a realistic and expressively stylised manner. Due to his agility with the brush, Schiele could achieve subtle colour transitions as well as wet-on-wet effects that a less proficient artist would struggle with. The forms, especially noticeable in the rendering of the fabric of the dress, are defined by the gyrations of the paint. The young sitter directly meets the gaze of the viewer, engaging with them as their eyes wander along the sinuous lines of her slender body. The interplay between the heavy drapery of the dress and her slight frame both emphasises the angularity of the sitter, and heightens the erotic effect of the manner in which she is portrayed. Her demeanour is inherently bold, and somewhat provocative – the hem of the dress is firmly held in between her pursed lips, which are accentuated with red pigment, exposing the lower half of her body. Challenging contemporary taboos and presaging a more fluid approach to gender and sexuality, the present work illustrates Schiele’s response to his models.

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