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Status, price and estimation of the artist Egon SCHIELE

Price of a painting: 50,000 – 35,000,000 €.

Price of a drawing or watercolour by the artist at auction: € 2,000 – 1,800,000

Price of a sculpture: 2,000 – 8,000 €.

Price of a print: 200 – 15,000 €.

A free spirit and friend of avant-garde artists

Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter, poet and draughtsman. From childhood, he was strongly attracted to drawing and produced his first paintings, mainly self-portraits, at the age of fifteen, just after the death of his father. This death, traumatic for the young Egon, would leave a lasting mark on his art in a dark and tortured tone.

In 1906, Schiele entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he was trained in academic painting. Rejecting all forms of authority, he left the school and created his own artistic movement, the Group for New Art, with his friends Anton Peschka, Anton Faistauer, Anton Kolig, Robin Andersen and Franz Wiegele; these artists and friends would accompany Schiele throughout his life, influencing and commenting on his art. Then, at an exhibition of the group in Vienna in 1907, Schiele met Gustav Klimt in whom he recognised a true spiritual master. The two painters developed a strong friendship and mutual admiration. From 1908 onwards, he also established strong links with members of the Jugdenstil, such as Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann, with whom he worked in Vienna’s art studios on major commissions, notably for the Stoclet Palace in Brussels.

Sulphurous and controversial works

Schiele’s painting output gradually moved away from the style of the Viennese Secession and he painted a number of artists’ portraits, sultry self-portraits and erotic drawings featuring heterosexual or lesbian couples. Although he remained close to the major avant-garde movements, such as the Blue Rider and the Sema group in Munich, to which Paul Klee belonged, criticism of him was extremely strong, with some even calling him a sick mind. In 1912, he spent just under a month in pre-trial detention because of a public exhibition of his erotic drawings, and more than a hundred of his drawings were confiscated by the judge. One of his great masterpieces, Cardinal and Nun, 1912, in the Leopold Museum in Vienna, also dates from this period.

International acclaim

From 1913, Egon Schiele exhibited at major international exhibitions in Berlin, Rome, Paris and Brussels. His reputation grew and he exhibited at the Vienna Secession pavilion. When Klimt died in 1918, Schiele painted his portrait on his deathbed and organised the 49th exhibition of the Vienna Secession in his place. Shortly afterwards, he too died of Spanish flu, leaving behind more than 300 paintings and sculptures, around 3,000 drawings, watercolours and gouaches, engravings and sculptures. His works, with their marked features, complex and tormented poses, as well as his self-portraits, often nude, sometimes caricatured, contributed to the fame of the artist whose production was halfway between psychiatric art, German expressionism and Jugdenstil. His works fetch high prices in all the auction rooms and galleries; in 2011, a landscape obtained the record for an auction for the artist, sold in London for more than 24.6 million pounds.

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