- Egon Schiele
- Mädchenakt mit weisser Umrandung (Female nude with white border)
Signed with the initial S and dated 1911 (upper left)
- Gouache and pencil on paper
- 11 1/4 by 17 1/4 in.
- 28.5 by 44 cm
The Gerstel Collection (sold: Christie's, London, June 20, 2006, lot 12)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Egon Schiele, 1975, no. 145, illustrated in the catalogue
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1990 and 1998, no. 838, illustrated p. 443 (illustrated vertically and with incorrect measurements)
Executed in 1911, Mädchenakt mit weisser Umrandung is a beautiful example of Schiele's eye for sensual detail. In this highly charged depiction of a nude model arching her torso with her arms raised above her head, Schiele highlights the voluptuous contours of her body with a surrounding halo of white gouache. This technique was common for Schiele's works from this period, and shows the artists's developing interest in investing his drawings with color. As Jane Kallir notes: "Schiele likes to divide the sheet into discrete color areas, each bounded and determined by the contours of the underlying drawing and treated in a distinctive manner, but whereas in the early part of 1911 these areas are filled more or less solidly, by midyear a multitude of colors is deployed in each moist puddle of pigment" (J. Kallir, op. cit., p. 433).
Like other drawings that Schiele completed around the same time, this work demonstrates the artist's interest in the balance of negative and positive space and the interplay of solids and voids. The artist would often leave the background of the composition virtually untouched, while devoting all his attention to the hyper-sexualized focus of his composition. To characterize these pictures as unfinished, though, would misinterpret Schiele's very complete and dramatic focus on his subject. Schiele pinpointed the elements of his composition that he wanted to emphasize, leaving parts of the body devoid of color or often not rendering them at all. This approach highlights Schiele's exemplary draftsmanship and the elements of his compositions that he found the most alluring.