Woman Painting at the Easel in a Summer Landscape - Schiele, Egon

Fine Art

Schiele, Egon

Tulln 1890-1918 Wien

Woman Painting at the Easel in a Summer Landscape


Oil on artist’s board
11 x 10 inches (27.6 x 25.7 cm)
Framed: 15 ¼  x 14 ½ inches (38 x 36.8 cm)
Signed lower right: Schiele


Estate of Dr. Alfred Spitzer (1861-1923), Vienna, c. 1930
Edith Spitzer Neumann by descent, Vienna and New York
Private collection New York (acquired from the above in 1966)
Galerie St. Etienne, New York
Serge Sabarsky Collection (1912-1996), New York
Serge Sabarsky Estate, New York
Vally Sabarsky Collection (1909-2002), New York
Vally Sabarsky Foundation, New York
Ketterer Kunst, Munich, 10 June 2023, lot 308
Private collection, Monaco


Egon Schiele. A Centennial Retrospective, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY, January 28 – April 15, 1990
Egon Schiele. Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Schloss Mainau, September 22 – November 13, 1994, cat. no. 3
Egon Schiele, Foundation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, May 3 – 14, 1995, cat. no. 7
Egon Schiele. The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, Neue Galerie, New York, October 11, 2005 – February 20, 2006, cat. no. P3, color ill
From Klimt to Klee. Masterworks from the Serge Sabarsky Collection, Neue Galerie, New York, October 15, 2009 – February 15, 2010, cat. no. 32
Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Neue Galerie, New York, June 28, 2018 – September 3, 2018


Otto Kallir, Egon Schiele, Persönlichkeit und Werk, Vienna 1930, p. 50, no. 24 (illustrated).
Rudolf Leopold, Egon Schiele. Gemälde Aquarelle Zeichnungen, Salzburg 1972, p. 527, no. 49
Gianfranco Malafarina, L’Opera di Egon Schiele, Milan 1982, no. 44
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York 1990, p. 273, no. 49, illustrated
Kai Artinger, Egon Schiele. Leben und Werk, Cologne 1999, p. 20


Egon Schiele was one of the most significant artists from turn-of-the-century Vienna, along with Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka. The artist was only 20 when he cultivated his mature, Expressionist style, but his life was cut short a mere eight years later by the Spanish Flu.

Schiele was born in 1890 in the Austrian town of Tulln. His exceptional talent was recognized early on and he gained acceptance to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna at the young age of 16. During his time in the Academy, Schiele sought out artist Gustav Klimt, who assisted the young artist and became a mentor. After only three years, Schiele left the Academy, having grown increasingly frustrated with the institution‘s conservative approach to figuration. He then founded the Neukunstgruppe (the New Art Group) in 1909 with other dissatisfied students. That same year Schiele participated in the Internationale Kunstschau Wien with four paintings.

In his early years, Schiele was influenced by fellow Viennese artists Klimt and Kokoschka. In 1910, Schiele’s style further evolved by an invigorated drawing technique, with a flair for the eccentric. He produced erotic nudes, often distorting the figures. Undisguised nudity and his version of obscenity were provocative. After leaving Vienna in 1911, Schiele moved to Krumau where he produced numerous views of the town and the vineyards; but he continued with nudes of ever younger models, leading to his expulsion by the citizens of that small town. He then moved to Neulengbach, where similar pictures led to a local scandal. Schiele was accused of making and distributing immoral drawings, as well as having seduced minors. He was sentenced to three weeks prison in 1912 where he continued to draw, expressing his mindset while incarcerated.

After Schiele returned to Vienna, his output accelerated and in 1918 he took part in a group exhibition of the Vienna Secession, where he exhibited 50 paintings. He subsequently participated in A Century of Viennese Painting at the Kunsthaus Zürich, as well as shows in Prague and Dresden. Although his budding career ended abruptly due to his untimely death in 1918, his renown grew posthumously and his works became amongst the most important of Modernity.

Owing to the broad brushstroke and the three-dimensional account of the setting, our early example already hints at overcoming the dominant style offered at the Academy. With our Summer Landscape, Egon Schiele alters the spatial depth by presenting a higher vanishing point without a horizon line, creating a more closed setting; and he has well balanced the depiction between figure and landscape, thereby presenting a fresh concept of space. The palette is subtle, composed by only a few tones, highlighting great detail throughout.

Noteworthy is that the figure portrayed is a female artist, when at the time, and until 1920, only male students were even admitted to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Furthermore, according to the catalogue raisonné, it is the only painting in his oeuvre that depicts an artist working at the easel, in addition to her being female.

The elegant female artist is portrayed seated on a stool with her back to the viewer, her right arm raised to a large canvas onto which she paints. A large hat partially covers her dark hair and no doubt shields her face from the hot summer sun. A large square of green beyond indicates a verdant summer landscape, but the work’s cool, calming palette of blues, browns and whites gives the impression of comfortable shade. The subject’s own painting is purposely obfuscated, perhaps to inspire the viewer’s imagination.

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