Sale: 535 / Evening Sale with Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Dec. 09. 2022 in Munich Lot 32

 

32
Egon Schiele
Liebespaar, 1913.
Pencil drawing
Estimate:
€ 150,000 / $ 141,000
Sold:
€ 175,000 / $ 164,500

(incl. surcharge)
Liebespaar. 1913.
Pencil drawing.
Kallir D 1448. Signed and dated in right center. On Japon. 48 x 31.7 cm (18.8 x 12.4 in), size of sheet.
[CH].
• Fascinating erotic sheet that emanates voyeuristic tension owing to the sitter's captivating look
• From the acclaimed Serge Sabarsky Collection.
• Shown in many international exhibitions
.

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate (with the estate stamp in upper left).
Serge Sabarsky Collection (1912-1996), New York.
Serge Sabarsky Estate, New York (1996).
Vally Sabarsky Collection (1909-2002), New York.
Vally Sabarsky Foundation, New York.

EXHIBITION: Egon Schiele. Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, Historisches Museum, Vienna, September 24 - November 1, 1981, Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, November 19, 1981 - January 16, 1982, Museum Villa Stuck, spring of 1982, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, April 23 - June 13, 1982, cat. no. 75 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele, Pinacoteca Capitolina, Campidoglio, Rome, June 21 - August 8, 1984, Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna Ca' Pesaro, Venice, August 25, 1984 - January 12, 1985, Fondation Pierre Giannada, Martigny, November 26, 1986 - January 25 ,1987, cat. no. 121 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele. 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, BAWAG Foundation, Vienna, March 25 - May 29, 1993, cat. no. 56 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele, Mezinárodní kulturní centrum Egona Schieleho, Ceský Krumlov, November 6, 1993 to October 1997, pp. 164f.
Egon Schiele, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, May 31 - July 14, 1996.
Mezinárodní kulturní centrum Egona Schieleho, Ceský Krumlov (permanent loan, August 1997 to January 1999).
Musée d'art de la province de Nuoro (MAN Museo d’Arte della Provincia di Nuoro), Nuoro, November 2007 to January 2008.
The Naked Truth. The Body in Early 20th Century Germany and Austria, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury/Vermont, September 11 - December 6, 2015.

LITERATURE: Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele. The Complete Works, New York 1990, cat. no. D1448, p. 516 (with illu.).
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele. The Complete Works, New York 1998, cat. no. D1448, p. 516 (with illu.).

"Egon Schiele [is among] the pioneers of the 20th Century."

Art historian Dr. Carl Haenlein, quoted from: ex. cat. Egon Schiele. Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, Hanover 1982.

Jane Kallir on Egon Schiele

"Sleeping Woman" (1912, Kallir D. 1105), "Lovers" (1913, Kallir D. 1448) and "Embracing Couple" (1914, Kallir D. 1677) chart Egon Schiele's changing relationships with the opposite sex during the years when he was involved with Walburga (Wally) Neuzil and, later, Edith Harms, whom he married in 1915.

"Sleeping Woman" dates to the early days of Schiele's relationship with Wally. The two had met in 1911, but it is evident that her predecessor continued to figure in the artist's life (and work) at least through the middle of 1912. Wally and another, unidentified, model appear together in several works from this time (e.g., Kallir D. 1111). In these and subsequent watercolors, Wally is distinguished by reddish-blond hair, often bound by a headband, and a broad mouth, while the other woman (sometimes referred to as "the black-haired girl") can be identified by her darker tresses and heart-shaped face. Though the "Sleeping Woman" does not have red hair, several related drawings (Kallir D. 1106, Kallir D. 1106a) suggest she may nonetheless be Wally. Schiele sometimes took liberties in rendering such details. Furthermore, Wally acquired a singular personality in Egon’s drawings only gradually, as the two grew closer (Kallir D. 1118).

By the time Schiele drew "Lovers", in 1913, he and Wally were an established couple. Still, Wally was not his only model during this period, and the face of the woman in the aforementioned drawing is too stylized to permit identification. The same may be said of the man. It could be Egon, or one of his male friends. Couples had previously been a recurring subject for Schiele, but possibly under the influence of his relationship with Wally, they became more prominent in 1913. It is, however, important to note that the artist's interest was not confined to heterosexual pairings. Intentionally innocuous titles such as "Mother and Daughter" (Kallir D. 1297) or "Two Men" (Kallir D. 1416), masked the erotic subtext of such works. At the same time, these double figure studies related to Schiele's contemporaneous allegorical concerns. He was also working on several canvases (never completed) depicting a mystic "seer" flanked by a row of standing acolytes ("Encounter (Self-Portrait with Saint)", Kallir P. 259, Conversion, Kallir P. XLIII).

In 1914, Schiele began a flirtation with two sisters, Adele and Edith Harms, whose family had moved into the building across the street from his studio the year before. At first the sisters resisted Egon's advances, and their parents certainly did not consider him an appropriate suitor. To counter their reluctance, Schiele dispatched Wally to befriend the girls and enlisted her as chaperon when he took them to the movies. Soon, Egon had focused his attention on Edith, the younger, fair-haired sibling. In February 1915, the artist informed his friend, Arthur Roessler: "[Ich] habe vor zu heiraten, —günstigst, nicht Wal[ly]."

Belying the title, the subjects of "Embracing Couple" are not a couple per se, but Edith Harms and her young nephew, Paul Erdmann. She is identifiable by her striped dress and turban, which she wears in a roughly contemporaneous photograph (see illu.). Paul appears in a series of 1915 drawings
—both alone (Kallir D. 1697) and with his aunt (Kallir D. 1798). "Embracing Couple" is closely related to this series, and it is possible Schiele incorrectly ascribed the drawing to 1914. The artist did not necessarily sign his drawings the moment they were finished, and he sometimes made mistakes when coming back later to date them.

Its subjects notwithstanding, the erotic tension in "Embracing Couple" is undeniable. As Schiele approached marriage in 1914-15, his depictions of couples became increasingly anguished. Whether heterosexual (Kallir D. 1785) or homosexual (Kallir D. 1743), the physical attraction that binds these pairs seems to preclude emotional intimacy. Pinprick eyes on one or both partners convey a sense of profound disorientation. At a certain point, Edith and little Paul appear caught up in a similar whirlwind (Kallir D. 1794). It becomes difficult to separate their ostensibly innocuous embrace from that of Schiele's adult couples.

Prior to meeting Edith, Egon had had numerous sexual liaisons with models who, like Wally, were at the time considered little better than prostitutes. The class divide between the artist's former lovers and his prospective bride was enormous. His confusion when confronted with the emotional demands of a properly bourgeois mate is reflected in a searing self-portrait with Edith, probably done shortly after their wedding in June 1915 (Kallir D. 1788). The marriage that ensued was marked by ups and downs. Through his experiences with Edith, Schiele gradually developed a deeper understanding of the female psyche that is reflected in his later portraits of women, but at the same time his erotic drawings became far less personal. "Sleeping Woman", "Lovers" and "Embracing Couple" evidence a process of discovery and artistic experimentation that is not seen in Schiele's work after 1915.

Jane Kallir

President, Kallir Research Institute and author of the catalogue raisonné of Egon Schiele's works



32
Egon Schiele
Liebespaar, 1913.
Pencil drawing
Estimate:
€ 150,000 / $ 141,000
Sold:
€ 175,000 / $ 164,500

(incl. surcharge)