Sale: 535 / Evening Sale with Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Dec. 09. 2022 in Munich Lot 31

Egon Schiele
Schlafende, 1912.
Gouache, watercolor and pencil drawing
€ 250,000 / $ 267,500
€ 262,500 / $ 280,875

(incl. surcharge)
Schlafende. 1912.
Gouache, watercolor and pencil drawing.
Kallir D 1105. Signed and dated in right center. 31.7 x 48.1 cm (12.4 x 18.9 in), size of sheet.
• Tender watercolor in a confident presentation in which the execution of the hair attains a fascinating haptic presence.
• From the renowned Serge Sabarsky Collection.
• Impressive international exhibition history: shown at, among others, the 40th Venice Biennale in 1982.
• The year this work was made, Schiele was shortly imprisoned for his scandalous lifestyle and a judge burned one of his draiwng during a court session

PROVENANCE: Christian M. Nebehay Collection (1909-2003), Vienna.
Serge Sabarsky Collection (1912-1996), New York (acquired from the above in 1980).
Serge Sabarsky Estate, New York.
Vally Sabarsky Collection (1909-2002), New York.
Vally Sabarsky Foundation, New York.

EXHIBITION: XL. Biennale di Venezia: Visual Arts 82, Giardini di Castello, Venice, June 13 - September 12, 1982, cat. no. 18.
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. 113 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele: vom Schüler zum Meister. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle 1906-1918, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, January 25 - March 8, 1984, Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, March 16 - May 20, 1984, Villa Zito, Palermo, March 28 - April 14, 1985, Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, April 20 - May 23, 1985, Hamburger Kunsthalle Hamburg, May 31 - July 14, 1985, Rupertinum, Salzburg, July 27 - September 29, 1985, Schloss Plankenwarth, Graz, October to November 1985, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, January 7 - February 9, 1986, Josef-Albers-Museum / Quadrat, Bottrop, February 16 - April 13, 1986, Nürnberger Kunsthalle, Nuremberg, April 23 - June 22, 1986, Certosa di San Giacomo, Capri, July 19 - September 30, 1986, cat. no. 70.
Egon Schiele (and Gustav Klimt), Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, November 28, 1986 - January 25, 1987, cat. no. 61.
Egon Schiele: vom Schüler zum Meister. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle 1906-1918, Schloss Halbturn, Halbturn, May 17 - August 30, 1987, Kunsthalle Emden, March 26 - May 1, 1988, Städtische Galerie Rosenheim, Rosenheim, May 7 - June 12, 1988, cat. no. 70.
Egon Schiele. 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, June 21 - August 28, 1988, Herforder Kunstverein im Daniel-Pöppelmann-Haus, Herford, September 3 - October 12, 1988, Erholungshaus der Bayer A.G., Leverkusen, October 16 . November - 20, 1988, Jahrhunderthalle, Hoechst / Frankfurt am Main, November 27, 1988 - January 15, 1989, Castello Svevo, Bari, January 28 - March 12, 1989, Museo Villa Croce, Genoa, April 5 - June 15, 1989, Padiglione dArte Contemporanea di Palazzo Massari, Ferrara, June 24 - October 8, 1989, cat. no. 50.
Egon Schiele 1890-1918. A Centennial Retrospective, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn / New York, January 28 - April 15, 1990, cat. no. 50 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele. 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Städtische Galerie, Bietigheim-Bissingen, July 6 - September 15, 1991, Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, Berlin, October 24, 1991 - March 1, 1992, Museum moderner Kunst, Passau, March 6 - May 31, 1992, Ulmer Museum, Ulm, June 14 - August 16, 1992, Palais Wallenstein, Prague, October 8 - November 28, 1992, Musée-Galerie de la Seita, Paris, December 14, 1992 - February 27, 1993, cat. no. 50 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele. 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, BAWAG Foundation, Vienna, March 24 - May 23 1993 (not in cat.).
Egon Schiele, Mezinárodní kulturní centrum Egona Schieleho, Ceský Krumlov, November 6, 1993 to October 1997, pp. 142f.
Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka. Wien omkring arhundredeskiftet, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen, February 23 - May 12, 2002, cat. no. 56 (with illu.).
Egon Schiele. The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, Neue Galerie, New York, October 21, 2005 - February 20, 2006, cat. no. D94, p. 412 (with illu.).
Musée d'art de la province de Nuoro (MAN Museo d’Arte della Provincia di Nuoro), Nuoro, November 2007 to January 2008.

LITERATURE: Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele. The Complete Works, New York 1990, p. 475, cat. no. D1105 (with illu.).
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele. The Complete Works, New York 1998, p. 475, cat. no. D1105 (with illu.).

"One of the most exciting draftsmen in the history of art."

Grace Glueck, Egon Schiele. The Draftsman as a Painter, New York Times, July 26, 1985.

"Only three years after Schiele's death, his exceptional importance as a painter and as a draftsman is already established."
Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, Zu Egon Schieles Gedächtnis, in: Wiener Zeitung, November 1, 1921.

“Egon Schiele is not only the pioneer and main protagonist of Austrian Expressionism, and, alongside Klimt, one of the key figures in Vienna at the turn of the century, above all, he is the greatest draftsman of the 20th century. [..] In his drawing, watercolors and gouaches, the artist broke new ground: He captured his subject, usually the human body, with confident and powerful lines. [..] It is precisely in his well-thought-out drawings that Schiele took uncharted paths in terms of iconography and coloring. It is no coincidence that the artist's graphic oeuvre is valued as at least equal to his painting - the draftsman Schiele is even far superior to the painter Schiele. As a draftsman, he subsequently became a great inspiration for many artists of our time."
Quoted from: Leopold Museum, Vienna,

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

Egon Schiele
Schlafende, 1912.
Gouache, watercolor and pencil drawing
€ 250,000 / $ 267,500
€ 262,500 / $ 280,875

(incl. surcharge)