EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
1 More
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
4 More
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)

Bildnis eines Herren (Carl Reininghaus)

EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
Bildnis eines Herren (Carl Reininghaus)
gouache, watercolor and black Conté crayon on paper
17 3/8 x 12 1/4 in. (44.2 x 31.1 cm.)
Executed in 1910
Serge Sabarsky, New York (by 1984).
Private collection (acquired from the estate of the above, 2003); sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 February 2009, lot 6.
Richard Nagy Ltd., London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
C.M. Nebehay, Egon Schiele: Von der Skizze zum Bild, Vienna and Munich, 1989, p. 96 (illustrated in color, fig. 66).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Including a Biography and Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1990, p. 416, no. 608 (illustrated, p. 417).
P. Weninger, ed., Eine Dokumentation zu Leben und Werk von Egon Schiele (1890 Tulln–1918 Wien), Tulln, 1991, p. 122 (illustrated).
K. Artinger, Egon Schiele: Life and Work, Cologne, 1999, p. 63 (illustrated).
T.G. Natter, Die Welt von Klimt, Schiele und Kokoschka: Sammler und Mäzene, Cologne, 2003, p. 172 (illustrated in color).
C.C. Escalera, Egon Schiele: Escritos, 1909-1918, Madrid, 2014, p. 97.
Vienna, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Egon Schiele: vom Schüler zum Meister, 1984, p. 139, no. 28 (illustrated in color).
Rome, Pinacoteca Capitolina, Egon Schiele, 1984, p. 193, no. 56 (illustrated in color).
Charleroi, Palais de Beaux-Arts, Egon Schiele, September-December 1987, pp. 90 and 183, no. 41 (illustrated in color, p. 90).
Roslyn, Nassau County Museum of Art, Egon Schiele: A Centennial Retrospective, January-April 1990, p. 171, no. 34 (illustrated in color).
Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Egon Schiele: Frühe Reife, Ewige Kindheit, May-September 1990, p. 21, no. 4.10 (illustrated in color).
Milan, Palazzo della Permanente, Egon Schiele: Acquarelli e dipinti, May-June 1991, p. 147, no. 16 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Musée-Galerie de la Seita, Egon Schiele: Cent oeuvres sur papier, December 1992-February 1993, p. 144, no. 34 (illustrated in color).
Vienna, BAWAG Fondation, Egon Schiele, March-May 1993, no. 34 (illustrated).
Lake Constance, Schloss Mainau, Egon Schiele: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, September-November 1994, no. 42 (illustrated).
New York, Neue Galerie, Egon Schiele: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, October 2005-February 2006, p. 404, no. D46 (illustrated in color, p. 229).
New York, Neue Galerie, Egon Schiele: Portraits, October 2014-January 2015, no. 45 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Egon Schiele, October 2018-January 2019, p. 83, no. 23 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

A combination of an exquisitely fine line and expressively-brushed areas of gouache and watercolor, Bildnis Eines Herren (Portrait of a Gentleman) (Carl Reininghaus) is a powerful example of Egon Schiele's portraiture. It is characteristic of his 1909-1911 period, arguably the most prolific period of his oeuvre. This striking portrait of 1910 depicts Carl Reininghaus, a wealthy industrialist, one of Austria's most active collectors of modern art at the time, and an influential early patron of Egon Schiele. Having met in the early months of 1910 and, despite occasional disagreements, both Egon Schiele and Carl Reininghaus remained friends until the end of the artist's life in 1918. Famously, Carl Reininghaus had the foresight to acquire the now world-famous Beethoven Frieze, painted by Gustav Klimt in 1902, thus saving it from its planned destruction at the close of the XIV Secession exhibition. Besides being an avid collector, Carl Reininghaus was an advocate of the avant-garde and organized competition exhibitions in which young artists of his time could exhibit their work.
As the protégé of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele found himself a supportive group of patrons; leading them was Carl Reininghaus, along with Arthur Roessler and Dr. Oskar Reichel, who collectively purchased over half of the oils painted by Schiele in 1910 (Kallir p.84). For their part, these patrons undoubtedly took vicarious pleasure in Schiele’s infamous adolescent musings. Although not always intended to be erotic or to titillate viewers, some elements of Schiele’s work can often be mistaken as arousing in the conventional sense rather than expressive and reflective. At the time, it was clear that his work was widely collected as erotica, with Carl Reininghaus notably being the leading collector.
Viewing the work, the combination of sharp lines and expressively applied areas of gouache and watercolor define the exposed features of the sitter, encouraging the viewer of the work to consider Carl Reininghaus from a low perspective, perhaps adding a covert eroticism as the eye moves up the composition. A compelling example of Egon Schiele’s portraiture, the work alternates between formality and casualness in its pose, exuding both confidence and inherent sensitivity. The formal Austrian attire addresses this, yet with a resolutely casual stance of an unbuttoned collar and lowered tie. The quick glimpse of the sitter’s bare leg infuses the composition with a slightly erotic viewpoint, evident in so many of Egon Schiele’s works, subtle and yet overt all at once. The contrasting skin tones emphasize the body sitting below the black crayon silhouette, pulling you into the angularity of the face partially hidden by the exuberant beard. The complete form of the sitter’s nudity is evident even when clothed.
Just as the Klimtian tradition of patronage lived on, so did the associated practice of portraiture. Schiele's new connections soon brought a series of consignments, going on to paint numerous portraits of Carl Reininghaus, Dr. Oskar Reichel, and Arthur Roessler. Unlike Gustav Klimt's decorative and colorful portraits, which were deeply popular with the Viennese elite, Schiele's portraiture was based solely on his own personal ambitions. Many of the portraits painted by Schiele in the latter half of 1910, including the work seen here, emulate the somber tones of the scraped surfaces developed by Max Oppenheimer and Oskar Kokoschka. That said, unlike the many portrait artists of his time, Schiele's portraits were not reflections of the sitter's social aspirations but instead of his own psychic preoccupations. In that sense, this vital work becomes not only a reflection of Carl Reininghaus as integral to the patronage of Schiele and the avant-garde in Vienna. To a greater extent, it becomes a meditation of the artist's psyche, a portrait that evolves progressively in contemplation.

More from Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper Sale

View All
View All