21 June 2012
Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
signed and dated 'EGON SCHIELE 1911.' (lower left); inscribed 'A. Peschka Freundlichst!' (lower right)
pencil on paper
18 7/8 x 12½ in. (48 x 31.7 cm.)
Drawn in 1911
Anton Peschka, Vienna, a gift from the artist.
Lea Bondi Jaray, Vienna.
Otto Brill, Vienna & London (with his collector's stamp on the reverse; L.2005a).
Mr & Mrs Eric Estorick, London.
Private collection, Great Britain; sale, Sotheby's, London, 9 February 2005, lot 319.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
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J. Kallir, Egon Schiele, The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. 967 (illustrated p. 458).
Paris, Galerie Octave Negru, Egon Schiele, Dessins et aquarelles, February - April 1976, no. 2 (illustrated).
Liebespaar belongs to an important group of highly erotic drawings and watercolours that the artist executed in 1911, when he first began to explore his sexuality. Specifically, the drawing is one of a series of five pencil drawings depicting an embracing couple that the artist drew in this year, two of which are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Kallir 966 & 969). It is a further tribute to the quality of the drawing that it is dedicated to Anton Peschka, a fellow artist and founder of the Neukunstgruppe, and Schiele's future brother-in-law.
Schiele was both fascinated and fearful of sex and this is a paradox that many of his works address. As in his other highly sexualised studies from this period, in this fluid and swiftly-executed drawing, Schiele's interest lies predominantly with the heightened state of being of the individual and the expressive pictorial possibilities of rendering this.
Sex and death were the predominant themes in Schiele's work of this period. For Schiele, as they were for Sigmund Freud and much of Viennese society at this time, the raw underground forces of Eros and Thanatos seemed to be the vital motivating impulses of life bursting through the cracks in the glittering facade of Imperial Viennese culture.
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