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

Erhobene rote Hand

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Erhobene rote Hand
signed and dated 'EGON SCHIELE 1910.' (lower left), initialed 'S' (lower left)
watercolour and black crayon on paper
17 7/8 x 12½ in. (45.2 x 31.7 cm.)
Executed in 1910
Erich Lederer, Vienna & Geneva (with his collection inscription '7.E.L.' on the reverse), and thence by descent to his wife.
By descent from the above to the present owner.
R. Leopold, Egon Schiele, Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Salzburg, 1972, p. 90 (illustrated).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele, The Complete Works, London, 1998, no. D691 (illustrated p. 426).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, Art autrichien du vingtième siècle, April - May 1961, no. 184 (illustrated).
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Zeugnisse der Angst in der modernen Kunst, June - September 1963 (illustrated).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Egon Schiele, Paintings, Watercolours, and Drawings, October 1964, no. 45.
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Zum Gedächtnis ihres Todes vor 50 Jahren, April - June 1968, no. 138 (illustrated).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, April - May 1981, no. 54 (illustrated).
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Lot Essay

Looking like a red plant sprouting into the air, Erhobene rote Hand (Red Hand Raised) is an exquisite watercolour that Schiele made in conjuction with an important self-portrait watercolour Kniender männlicher Akt mit erhobenen Händen (Selbstbildnis) (K692) belonging to the Leopold Museum in Vienna. A naked self-depiction, based on Kokoschka's Mycenean-inspired vignette for Die Träumenden Knaben, this naked self-portrait watercolour was itself probably a study for a prospective self-portrait oil Schiele intended to make. A forceful and brilliant depiction of Schiele's spiny angular body isolated against a bleak empty background, this work's portrayal of the raised hand with parted fingers is, nevertheless, more clumsily rendered - a rarity in Schiele's usual breath-taking mastery. The exquisitely rendered raised hand in the present work, with the meticulously drawn paired fingers doubtlessly of Shiele's own hand, most-likely served as a correction to the shortcomings of the kneeling self-portrait.

More than this however, the fact that Schiele has not only taken the time to colour this form in red wash, but also to sign it, hints at both his own satisfaction with the image and, perhaps, his sense that in a very modern way - and like his sparse autumnal paintings of trees and plants - this partial image stands successfully alone as a complete work in itself.

Bearing also the collector's mark on the back of the work, this watercolour belonged to the collection of Erich Lederer. The son of August and Serena Lederer, Klimt's greatest patrons who also, at his introduction, became supporters of Schiele, Erich Lederer was a young friend of Schiele's and one of his most fervent admirers, having even taken drawing lessons from the artist. Spending much of his allowance and any other spare money he could find, he put together at an early age one of the largest and most impressive collections of Schiele's drawings and watercolours.

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