Sotheby’s auctioneer sold a rare cityscape by Austrian artist Egon Schiele
There was a world auction record for Egon Schiele at Sotheby’s on June 22. His Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II) / Houses with Colorful Laundry (Suburb II) made £24,6 million ($40.1 million) almost double the previous auction record for the Austrian artist. Despite the work setting a new auction benchmark for the artist, it sold at the lower end of the estimated price of between £22 million and £30 million.
Executed in 1914 at the height of Egon Schiele’s short career, four years before his death in the Spanish influenza epidemic at the age of 28, the painting is one of the most impressive of the artist’s few monumental cityscapes and is loosely based on motifs drawn from Krumau, the town known to have inspired some of his greatest works. It was this town in Southern Bohemia in which Schiele’s mother was born, and to which Schiele and his lover Valerie (Wally) Neuzil moved in 1911 in order to escape what they perceived as the claustrophobic atmosphere of Vienna.