Crouching Female Nude, 1918
Signed and dated lower right 'Egon Schiele 1918'; Estate stamp verso 'Nachlass'
Black crayon on paper
11 1/2 x 18 1/8 in, 29.2 x 45.8 cm
Egon Schiele created this elegant drawing of a female nude in the final year of his life, when he tragically died from influenza aged just 28. Celebrated as a leader...
Egon Schiele created this elegant drawing of a female nude in the final year of his life, when he tragically died from influenza aged just 28. Celebrated as a leader of the Austrian Expressionist movement beside Oskar Kokoschka, Schiele became notorious for his fearless and erotically charged studies of the human figure as well as his own scandalous personal life, which saw him briefly imprisoned for ‘public immorality’. Under the guidance of Gustav Klimt, Schiele established himself as a driving force of the Vienna Secession; the rebellious movement that rejected the conservative tastes of Austrian society in favour of a liberal new art form. Schiele’s searing psychological drawings are often considered the most significant works from his lively oeuvre because of their immediacy of expression and their devilish ability to provoke and shock.
‘Crouching Female Nude’ is a key example of the sensual works that Schiele made during the final years of his life, having returned to Vienna in 1917 from military service when he worked as a clerk in a prisoner of war camp. With growing commercial success, Schiele was able to employ professional models and devote himself entirely to his drawing practice. These late drawings reveal Schiele’s unparalleled abilities as a draughtsman as well as his movement away from extreme and often sexually explicit poses. No longer an adolescent gripped by fervent sexual desire, Schiele’s mature drawings are defined by the palpable presence of each sitter and notion of the body as an essential symbol of human existence. With the model’s face hidden in the present drawing, Schiele focuses upon the curvaceous line of the female body, rendered in a precise contour of black crayon, that reveals the artist’s fascination with the tangible density and monumentality of form.
By the time Schiele drew ‘Crouching Female Nude’ in 1918 that young artist’s reputation had begun to soar, and his work was the subject of the main exhibition at the Vienna Secession’s 49th annual exhibition. However, it was also a year of tremendous personal tragedy as his close friend and mentor Gustav Klimt died from the same influenza pandemic that would later claim the life of Egon Schiele and his pregnant wife Edith Harms. Marking the 100-year anniversary since Schiele’s death, 2018 will see the presentation of several major international exhibitions of his work including Royal Academy, London; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna and Leopold Museum, Vienna.
C. & J. Goodfriend Drawings and Prints, New York
Collection of Alice Adam, Chicago
Private Collection (acquired from the above in February 1999)
New York, Lafayette Parke Gallery, The Expressionist Figure,
23 October – 20 December 1986, cat. no.51
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Harry N. Abrams, New
York, 1998, cat. no.2399, illus. p.628