EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)

Dorf am Fluss II

Details
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
Dorf am Fluss II
signed and dated 'EGON SCHIELE 08.' (lower left)
oil on board
10 1/4 x 10 1/4 (26 x 26 cm.)
Painted in 1908
Provenance
Private Collection, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale, Dorotheum, Vienna, 18 March 1977, lot 1359.
Anonymous sale, Christie’s, New York, 19 May 1978, lot 22.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, 26 June 1985, lot 179.
Fuji TV Gallery, Tokyo, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Private Museum, Japan, by whom acquired from the above, circa 1988.
Private collection, Japan, by whom acquired from the above in the 1990s.
Literature
F. E. Wischin, Egon Schiele und Krumau: Die Stadt am blauen Fluß, Vienna, 1994, pp. 88 & 244 (illustrated p. 89).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. 132, p. 284 (illustrated).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

In the summer of 1904, Egon Schiele and his family visited Krumau, the birthplace of his mother, Marie Soukup, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now known as Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Krumau sprang up during the Middle Ages with a formal settlement emerging in the late-1200s. Over the centuries, artists flocked to the town, hoping to paint and ink its bijoux buildings and natural beauty. Indeed, with its medieval and baroque architecture, charming streets, and bucolic riverside setting, Krumau certainly impressed the fourteen-year-old Schiele; he would travel there regularly throughout the rest of his life.
Painted in 1908, Dorf am Fluss II shows the Moldau river winding through the heart of Krumau and the clutch of buildings that line its banks. To the left of the composition is the town's brewery, an icon of the pre-war skyline; to the right are rows of houses on Fischergasse, the lane that ran along the river. Behind, a forest grows, thick and impenetrable. Although a seemingly abstracted rendering of space and geography, Dorf am Fluss II was likely painted from life: at this time, Schiele was studying at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, and his professors encouraged painting en plein air in the vein of the French Impressionists. He regularly brought drawing materials when exploring the towns and fields outside of Vienna, and a friend from those years remembered how Schiele would spend ‘every free hour outside, in the meadows, by the riverbank, or in the woods, filling pages and pages of his sketchbooks with coloured pencil drawings’ (O. Kunz quoted in K. Smith, Between Ruin and Renewal: Egon Schiele’s Landscapes, London, 2004, p. 12).
Within Schiele’s oeuvre, the landscape as a genre served, essentially, as his modernist manifesto. If historically landscapes had serviced allegorical or religious narratives, operating as backdrop to a subject or group of figures, during Modernism, they gained their autonomy: ‘Severed from any obligatory staffage or narrative justification’ argues Kimberley Smith, ‘the landscape seemed to embody the precept “art for art’s sake”’ (ibid,, p. 34). From Paul Cezanne's and Claude Monet's canvases to Gustave Klimt’s meditations on the Attersee, the genre was taken up and reconceived by the era’s most experimental visionaries.
Though his initial canvases were rather traditional, by 1908, when Dorf am Fluss II was painted, Schiele had begun to rebel against the more conservative teachings of the Vienna Academy’s professors. He studied paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Ferdinand Hodler, from whom he took his elevated horizons and patchwork strips of colour. For the young artist, contending with the landscape was a means of asserting his own artistic independence and identity; this was, as such, a ‘necessarily meaningful gesture’ which would endure throughout his career (ibid.).
While exhibitions of landscape art predominated in Austria between 1900 and 1910, in 1908 Schiele was able to see first-hand a comprehensive presentation of Klimt’s paintings at the Kunstschau, an exhibition Klimt and his cohort had organized to mark the emperor Franz Josef’s sixtieth jubilee; the impact of these works on Schiele’s practice was ‘swift and immediate’ (ibid., p. 46). He began to toy with colour – employing a Secessionist-inspired palette – as well as perspectival configurations to create vertiginous worlds in which figure and ground merged together. Looking to Klimt’s paintings, he radically reimagined how he constructed spatial depth, allowing it to surge forward rather than recede. This can be seen in Dorf am Fluss II wherein the trees appear to collapse atop the rushing river beneath. Indeed, the work captures Schiele’s aesthetic evolution and the development of his own Expressionist-Gothic idiom.
Aside from his own self-portraits, Schiele would devote more canvases to Krumau than any other subject, and both these related works and the town itself functioned as a refuge of sorts for the artist. As he wrote at the age of twenty, just prior to his move to Krumau in 1911, ‘I received the clearly remembered impressions of my childhood from flat countrysides with tree-shaded spring-tie roads and raging storms. In those days it seemed to me as though I had already heard and smelled the miraculous flowers, the speechless gardens, the birds in whose shiny eyes I saw my rosy mirror image’ (E. Schiele quoted in S. Wilson, Egon Schiele, Oxford, 1980, p. 64).

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