experts discover Schiele´s forgotten watercolour

On 21 June 2013 at 6 pm CET – live and online – Auctionata will auction a spectacular find:
Egon Schiele’s watercolour Reclining Woman, a masterpiece from 1916. The drawing was discovered by Auctionata’s experts in a private estate after more than half a century and achieved a record-breaking result of €1,827,000 (incl. buyer's premium).

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What makes this discovery so special?

Jane Kallir, internationally renowned expert on Schiele and author of the Egon Schiele catalogue raisonné, says: “This sheet can certainly be considered one of the most spectacular Schiele watercolours to come up for sale in recent years. Because it was stored so long in a light-protected portfolio, the work exhibits luminous colours and an excellent state of preservation.”

In the past, comparable watercolours by Schiele have gone under the hammer for up to $10 million (€7.5 million). Recently, the Schiele drawing Lovers set a new auction record for works on paper by the artist with an auction price of $12.4 million (€9.2 million).

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Schiele´s Reclining Woman Watercolour Reclining Woman
Egon Schiele, Reclining Woman, 1916. Gouache, watercolour and
pencil on cream wove paper. Signed and dated, lower right.
18 7/8” x 12 ½” (48 x 31.6 cm). Kallir D. 1824b.

The History of the
Forgotten Masterpiece

Portfolio – autographed by Egon Schiele – containing facsimiles from
1917 and the original drawing Reclining Woman from 1916

The consignor of Egon Schiele’s forgotten watercolour would not have dreamed of what an unbelievable story would unfold from her search for professional appraisal of her father’s large estate. “After an extended search, I finally came across Auctionata and its large online expert network. Within two hours after sending my valuation request, an expert called me back and we set up a meeting for a free valuation.” While searching through an old library, experts from Auctionata stumbled upon a portfolio of prints from 1917. They found the original watercolour Reclining Woman between reproductions of Schiele’s watercolours from 1917. The specialists presented the original watercolour to Jane Kallir, author of the catalogue raisonné Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, for authentication. She confirmed its authenticity after thorough examination. For the first time in history, a German auction house has managed to obtain one of Egon Schiele’s most important works for an online auction.

“The painting along with the portfolio nearly ended up in the paper bin when we were looking through my father’s belongings. It had been passed down from generation to generation, with no one aware of its true value.”

In our auction on June 21, 2013, 6:00 pm CET, both the watercolour by Egon Schiele from 1916 as well as the portfolio autographed by the artist will be auctioned live and online.

Schiele’s 'Reclining Woman'
What do the experts say?

Schiele Expert
J. Kallir
Jane Kallir is the internationally renowned expert for Egon Schiele.
Since 1978, she is Co-Director of the St. Etienne Gallery, New York,
the oldest gallery in the US specializing in Austrian and German

Jane Kallir, author of the catalogue raisonné of Egon Schiele’s complete works:

Excerpts from Jane Kallir’s commentary about the drawing:
Given the scarcity of 1916 works, Reclining Woman occupies a pivotal transitional position in Schiele’s oeuvre. Between 1914 and 1917, Schiele gradually adopted a style that was far more classically realistic (and beautiful) than the boldly Expressionistic work of 1910-11.

Reclining Woman evidences the start of this trend, playing off the flat expanse of the woman’s jacket against her delicately modeled flesh. Despite its abstract qualities, however, Reclining Woman has a solid, sculptural presence. Here we see early evidence of a colouring technique that Schiele would exploit to stunning effect in his most famous 1917 watercolours: the flesh is first gently molded with a translucent brownish wash. The artist then moves back in with more opaque red and green gouache, highlighting and further shaping areas of key anatomical and emotional significance. The truncated reclining pose, with its focus on the face and extreme foreshortening of the legs, also recurs in Schiele’s 1917 drawings.

Victor Wiener, curator and former director
at Christie’s auction house:

The watercolour with gouache is a visionary example of Schiele’s mature style, showing the type of erotic lyricism that one sees in the mature works created by Schiele during the last years of his life - works greatly desired by collectors. In addition the pose of the provocative nude seductively lying on her stomach staring longingly at the viewer is less common than Schiele’s more conventional studies of female nudes. Because Schiele was in the army in WWI, very few works were produced in 1916 making Reclining Woman a rare work for the artist.

The drawing was originally published in black and white in Die Graphischen Künste; colour was later added by Schiele who then dated it “1916”.

Recently, the Schiele drawing Lovers set a new auction record for works on paper by the artist with an auction price of $12.4 million (€9.2 million).

Victor Wiener

Egon Schiele – The Life of an Artist

Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918), along with Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, counts among the most significant artists of the Wiener Moderne. His exceptional talent was discovered early on. Schiele was accepted to the Academy of the Arts in Vienna at the young age of 16, leaving after only three years to create the Neukunstgruppe in 1909. In the same year four of his works were displayed at the Internationale Kunstschau.

Influenced by Gustav Klimt, with whom he shared a friendship since 1907, and his fascination for East Asian art, Schiele soon developed a completely unique style. By the early age of 20 he was already a complete artist.

Leaving Vienna in 1911, Schiele experienced one of his most productive periods. His lifestyle, however, was seen as scandalous outside the capital. A court sentence for „spreading lewd drawings“ even led to his imprisonment.

Schiele served in the Austrian army during World War I from 1915. His first year of service in Vienna allowed him to continue to work in his studio in Hietzing, a Viennese suburb, in his free time. In the following year, however, he was transferred to a POW camp and found less time for his artistic work. Nonetheless, Schiele’s works were shown in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Helsinki between 1917 and 1918.

Schiele achieved his breakthrough in 1918 with a group exhibition of the Vienna Secession, where he was able to present a wide selection of paintings and drawings to the public. He subsequently participated in the A Century of Viennese Painting exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich as well as shows in Prague and Dresden. The 28 year old had reached the peak of his success when the Spanish Flu took the life of his pregnant wife Edith and finally his own. Egon Schiele, whose work is strongly associated with his biography, is one of the most highly valued Modernist artists today. His works are sold for record prices at international auctions.