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

Liegendes Mädchen in dunkelblauem Kleid

Details
Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Liegendes Mädchen in dunkelblauem Kleid
signed with initial and dated 'S. 10.' (upper right)
gouache and watercolor over pencil on paper
17 ½ x 12 ¼ in. (44.5 x 31 cm.)
Painted in 1910.
Provenance
La Boetie, New York.
Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above, 1967).
Barry Miller, London (acquired from the above, 1969).
Waddington Galleries, Ltd., London.
Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 19 May 1981, lot 248.
Stefan T. Edlis, Chicago (acquired at the above sale, and until at least 1991).
Gagosian Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1994.
Literature
G. Malafarina, L'opera di Egon Schiele, Milan, 1982, p. 72.
W.G. Fischer, Egon Schiele: Pantomimen der Lust, Visionen der Sterblichkeit, Cologne, 1998, p. 72 (illustrated in color, p. 73).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Including a Biography and a Catalogue Raisonné, Expanded Edition, New York, 1998, pp. 75 and 395-396, no. 417 (illustrated, p. 395; illustrated again in color, p. 76, pl. 17).
K.A. Schröder, Egon Schiele, exh. cat., Albertina, Vienna, 2005, p. 126 (illustrated in color, fig. 1).
Exhibited
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings, Memorial Exhibition, October-December 1968, no. 32 (illustrated).
London, Piccadilly Gallery, Christmas Exhibition, December 1970-January 1971, no. 103b.
London, Marlborough Fine Arts, Ltd., Egon Schiele: An Exhibition of Watercolors and Drawings, June-August 1979, no. 13 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, In Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth and the Publication of Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, November 1990-January 1991.
New York, Gagosian Gallery, Egon Schiele: Nudes, March-April 1994.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the updated provenance for this work which can be accessed online:
La Boetie, New York.
Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above, 1967).
Barry Miller, London (acquired from the above, 1969).
Waddington Galleries, Ltd., London.
Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 19 May 1981, lot 248.
Stefan T. Edlis, Chicago (acquired at the above sale, and until at least 1991).
Gagosian Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1994.

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Lot Essay

Created in 1910, Liegendes Mädchen in dunkelblauem Kleid emerged during a period of radical stylistic experimentation in Schiele’s oeuvre, as he began to shift away from the bold, jagged, angular lines that had previously dominated his work to explore a softer, more delicate approach to form, rooted in color. A key element in this development lay in the artist’s work in watercolor, a medium he played with repeatedly during this period as he sought to understand and master its capricious nature. Executed in delicately thin layers of watercolor pigment that delineate and construct his model’s form, the present work illustrates Schiele’s growing confidence in the medium during the latter half of 1910. Retaining a sense of the fluidity of the paint and the bold movements of the artist’s paintbrush as it danced across the page, Schiele allows the washes of color to bleed over the contours of his pencil drawing underneath, achieving masterful wet-on-wet effects that lend a richness and sense of depth to his hues.
With its unusual viewpoint and suggestively intimate pose, Liegendes Mädchen in dunkelblauem Kleid showcases Schiele’s determination to push his figure studies in a bold new direction following his departure from the Viennese Academy of Art, as he sought to capture his models in striking, unexpected moments. Barely twenty himself, Schiele showed a preference for younger models in these works, many of whom he had met casually in his local neighborhood. Selected not only because they were much cheaper than traditional professional models, but also for the relaxed, uninhibited behavior they exhibited in his studio, these figures dominated his paintings and drawings through much of 1910. Here, the artist adopts a low viewpoint to take in the slender form of the anonymous young female model as she reclines back against an invisible surface, resulting in a dramatic foreshortening effect as if Schiele is looking upwards at her from the floor. Gazing into the distance, as if lost in a daydream, she pulls the fabric of her dress above her knees and allows her legs to fall slightly apart.
Remarking upon Schiele’s working methods at this time, the artist’s friend Albert Paris von Gütersloh described the unaffected naturalism of the young sitters who frequented his studio. “They sat around doing nothing … they slept … lolled about lazily (which they were not allowed to do at home), combed … their closely cropped or tangled hair, pulled their skirts down or up, tied or untied their shoelaces. And all this they did—if one can call that doing something—because they were left to themselves…” (quoted in J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: Life and Work, New York, 2003, p. 75). According to von Gütersloh, Schiele would sit on the sofa, playing with his pencil, until: “Suddenly, and although he didn’t appear to have been paying attention at all, he would say very softly … “stop!” And now, as if under the spell of his magic, they froze as they were—lying, standing, kneeling, relaxing, tying or untying, pulling down or up, combing themselves or scratching themselves—as though they had been banished to timelessness or covered with lava, and then, in a twinkling, brought back to life. That is the immortal moment in which the transitory is transformed into the eternity of art” (ibid).
As with the majority of Schiele’s figure studies, the almost sculptural physicality of the young model’s body is contrasted against the void of the blank page surrounding her, the details of the setting subsumed by the artist’s need to capture the vital living nature of the human form before him. Reinforcing the isolation of his model on the page, Schiele emphasizes the strong meandering contours of her figure by introducing a subtle white “halo” of opaque heightener in places around the edges of her body, a technique he made frequent use of at this time. Radiating from the model like a shimmering current of electric light, Schiele often used this essentially abstract pictorial device in his early watercolors not only as a means of conveying energy, but also in a practical capacity, halting the flow of the thinned, liquid washes of watercolor from spilling across the rest of the page.

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