Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918) Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen
Lot 3
Egon Schiele
(Austrian, 1890-1918)
Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen
Sold for £37,500 (US$ 63,475) inc. premium
Lot Details
Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918)
Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen
signed and dated 'SCHIELE/EGON/07.' (lower right)
watercolour on paper
28.1 x 19cm (11 1/16 x 7 1/2in).
Executed in 1907

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Private collection, Austria (acquired circa 1988).
    By descent to the present owner.

    LITERATURE
    J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. 166 (illustrated p. 366).

    Painted in 1907, Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen and Garten mit baum were executed just a year after Schiele was admitted to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts as the then youngest pupil at the age of just sixteen. Schiele was a precociously talented student yet he quickly came to find the traditions of the Academy, and in particular the conservative dictates of his tutor Christian Griepenkerl, increasingly irrelevant as he endeavoured to define his own authentic means of expression. When his mother, Marie Schiele, asked Griepenkerl if her son had talent he replied, 'Yes too much. He disrupts the entire class.' (J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, p. 44)

    Consequently, Schiele's enthusiasm for his classes began to wane, and he also increasingly moved away from the prescriptions of the Academy's curriculum to venture into as of yet untaught terrain. As Jane Kallir, author of the artist's catalogue raisonné, writes: 'By the spring of 1907 it becomes virtually impossible to connect any of Schiele's work with any specific academy assignments.' (J. Kallir, op. cit. p. 45)

    In the summer of 1907 Schiele made frequent trips outside of Vienna with his maternal uncle and guardian Leopold Czihaczec and other members of his family. During these trips he made great progress as a painter, executing small landscapes that he sold to tourists with much success. For the next year painting became a major preoccupation in his work, even though he was not due to begin the 'general painting' class at the Academy until the autumn of 1908, and it was through this media that he first began to explore and establish his own independent style.

    It is likely that Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen and Garten mit baum issue from this collection of early paintings executed during these summer excursions of 1907. The clear blue sky and blossoms of Garten mit baum are suggestive of the early phases of the season. Meanwhile, the depiction of the sailing boat and its reflections on calm water hints at the summer and its related leisure activities. Segelschiff mit Spiegelungen is likely to have been executed in the coastal city of Trieste to the south-west of Vienna where Schiele made frequent visits during this time, particularly with his favourite sister Gertrude. It is part of a series of paintings that illustrate boats in the port and harbour of this scenic coastal resort, and it was here too that Schiele developed the ingenious technique of scoring into the wet pigment with his pencil; a method that was in clear defiance to the painterly directives of the Academy.

    These formative yet accomplished watercolours reveal the nascent signs of the rebellious and pioneering spirit that was to characterise Schiele's short but prolific career. They issue from the pivotal moment in which he begins to break away from the accepted artistic traditions of the Academy towards a decisively modern mode of expression.
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