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

Liegender Akt

Egon Schiele (1890-1918) Liegender Akt signed and dated 'Egon Schiele 1914' (lower right); with the Nachlass stamp (on the reverse) pencil on paper 12 x 19 in. (31 x 48.1 cm.) Drawn in 1914
The artist's estate.
Albertina, Vienna (no. 30426), by whom acquired in 1946.
Acquired from the above in 1952, and thence by descent to the present owner.

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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

Jane Kallir has confirmed the authenticity of this drawing, and has assigned it the number 'D.1525a', placing it in the sequence of work reproduced in her catalogue raisonné.

Liegender Akt is one of a sequence of outstanding drawings of a model with a scarf in her hair that Schiele made in 1914. A fluid and complete graphic portrait of a young girl, lying naked while engaging the viewer with her gaze, this work, like the others in the sequence is an outstanding example of the complete mastery of line that by 1914 Schiele had attained in his work. More subtle, fluid and calm than the neurotic, earthy and expressive line that distinguishes the works of his early maturity in1910 and 1911, in this work Schiele has delineated the contours of form with a swift, easy graphic assuredness that is both commanding and incisive.
Lying with he head resting on one arm while she fixes the viewer with a warm, confident gaze, she epitomizes the uninhibited, unselfconscious and natural behaviour Schiele encouraged among his models, while the continuous command of line that Schiele has been able to maintain throughout the work is once again breathtaking. As Schiele's great friend and supporter Otto Benesch recalled after watching Schiele at work on such a sketch, 'his artistry as draughtsman was phenomenal. The assurance of his hand was almost infallible. When he drew, he usually sat on a low stool, the drawing board and sheet on his knees, his right hand (with which he did the drawing) resting on the board. But I also saw him drawing differently, standing in front of the model, his right foot on a low stool. Then he rested the board on his right knee and held it at the top with his left hand, and his drawing hand unsupported placed his pencil on the sheet and drew his lines from the shoulder, as it were. And everything was exactly right. If he happened to get something wrong, which was very rare, he threw the sheet away; he never used an eraser. Schiele only drew from nature. Most of his drawings were done in outline and only became more three dimensional when they were coloured. The colouring was always done without the model, from memory.' (Otto Benesch, Mein Weg mit Egon Schiele New York, 1965, p. 25)

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