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

Gebeugt sitzender weiblicher Rückenakt mit schwarzem Haar

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Gebeugt sitzender weiblicher Rückenakt mit schwarzem Haar
signed and dated 'Egon Schiele 09.' (lower right)
watercolor, brush and India ink and pencil on paper
7 ¾ x 12 ½ in. (19.6 x 31.5 cm.)
Executed in 1909
Karl Hayd, Vienna (acquired from the artist).
Anon. sale, Dorotheum Kunstauktionen, Vienna, 6 December 1990, lot 27.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
E. Hertlein, "Frühe zeichnungen von Egon Schiele," Alte und moderne kunst, no. 95, 1967, p. 38 (illustrated, fig. 14).
R. Leopold, Egon Schiele: Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings, London, 1973, p. 543.
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Including a Biography and a Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1998, p. 381, no. 299 (illustrated).
Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, Egon Schiele, March 1949, p. 11, no. 37.

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Lot Essay

Rendered with a delicate expression of handling, Gebeugt sitzender weiblicher Rückenakt mit schwarzem Haar was executed in 1909, a breakthrough year in the short yet groundbreaking life of the artist. For Schiele, “the stylized Jugendstil formula evolved in 1908 becomes personalized in 1909” wrote Jane Kallir. “Over the course of the year, Schiele’s preoccupation with simple contour drawing and flat washes of color will gradually give way to an increased awareness of drawing as an expressive vehicle” (op. cit., p. 376). The previous year Schiele had met the great leader of Viennese art, Gustav Klimt, for the first time and his work inspired the young artist with the force of revelation. Over the course of 1909, Schiele forged his own distinctive idiom, of which the present work is a quintessential example. He was only nineteen years old and, until the summer of that year, still a student at the Viennese Academy of Art; his prodigious talent had already asserted itself to the point where he was recognized by many including Klimt himself as one of the greatest hopes for the future of Austrian art.
The present drawing closely related to Klimt’s Danaë (Novotny and Dobai, no. 151) and Schiele’s oil of the same subject (Kallir, no. 148); each artist had significantly different approaches to the myths. According to Jane Kallir, “Klimt transformed the Greek myth into a parable about the inexorability of sexual desire. The fleshy realism of his Danaë contrasts with an abstract surrounding sea of sperm and eggs: womankind’s inescapable destiny…The push-pull between realism and abstraction at the heart of Klimt’s aesthetic did not especially concern the younger artist. Schiele, rather, was interested in line for its own sake, and in the negative relationship between positive and negative shapes…Form, during this initial phase of Schiele’s development, takes precedence over content” (“Egon Schiele: In Search of the Perfect Line,” Egon Schiele, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, exh. cat., 2018, p. 31).

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