Friday, November 7, 2008
EGON SCHIELE : LAYING IN BED
Egon Schiele, 1890-1918, was a great Austrian artist, an a protégé of Gustav Klimt, and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic that claimed more than 20,000,000 lives in Europe reached Vienna. His wife Edith, who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease on 28 October : he died only three days after her. During the three days between their deaths, Schiele drew a few sketches of Edith; these were his last works.
The sketch on the right made in 1917 is a black Conté crayon on paper and represents his wife Edith laying on his side in a very suggestive position. Estimated before the sale between $150,000 and 200,000, the work went on auction at Christies NYC in November 2008 for $314,500 including buyer's premium. I personally think this picture is awful and I would never pay that amount of money to hang this horror on my walls. Désolé Egon !!
Having said that another crayon on paper, gouache, watercolor by Schiele (left picture) was sold on the 6th of November 2008 for $ 1,594,500. It has been estimated before the sale between $700,000 and 1,000,000. Collectors know the price of the artist but still I have difficulty to understand how in such a period of economic difficulties such prices can be reached without being drawn to the floor one of those days.