VIENNA and LONDON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- "Häuser mit bunter Wäsche" ("Houses with Laundry") Auctioned at Sotheby's in London
- With Photo
As expected, the top lot at Wednesday evening's spring auction at Sotheby's in London, Egon Schiele's "Houses with Laundry", fetched a record sum. An anonymous private bidder paid the impressive sum of 24.681.250 Million Pounds Sterling (40.1 Million Dollars) for this exceptional landscape by Egon Schiele (1890-1918). This sum sets a new record for works by the Expressionist painter. The previous record of 22.5 Million Dollars was reached in 2006. The Leopold Museum Private Foundation decided to sell the work in order to cover the settlement costs of the "Wally" case (United States of America vs. Portrait of Wally, a painting by Egon Schiele). According to Dr. Elisabeth Leopold, the decision was "painful, but taken for a right and just cause".
Proceeds of "Houses with Laundry" to cover "Wally loan"
The Leopold Museum's Managing Director Mag. Peter Weinhäupl explained that "the proceeds of this auction will be used to repay the entire loan taken out to finance proceedings in the "Wally" case, as well as to cover the costs of any further settlements". Lot number 9, the 1914 work by Schiele, was the evening's main attraction and as such also graced the cover of the auction catalogue. Works by Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, Giacometti and other masters of Impressionism and Classical Modernism were also sold during this auction.
Work from Böhler Collection
Rudolf Leopold: Intense chromaticity as an allegory of youth
The painting "Houses with Laundry (Suburb II)" can be traced back to the collection of the industrialist Heinrich Böhler. Prof. Rudolf Leopold had purchased the work in 1952 from Böhler's widow Mabel. The canvas shows two clusters of houses. While the background is made up of beige-grey fields with a chain of mountains visible in the distance, the rendering's foreground, with its colorful laundry and scattered boats on the river's shore, is characterized by an intense chromaticity. Prof. Rudolf Leopold offered an insightful interpretation of this rendering, which he expressed in his Schiele monograph published in 1972 (Egon Schiele. Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings): "The colorful laundry, which seems much more animated than anything else depicted in this rendering, might symbolize children and young people and their carefree attitude to life. Once they have grown old, they live in their dwellings, penned up in a confined space."
Impressions of Ceský Krumlov and the landscape of a soul
The painting's motif is closely linked to Schiele's impressions of Ceský Krumlov. Many of the artist's almost allegorical landscapes were influenced by Schiele and Wally's many visits to this Bohemian town. These works are no mere cityscapes, but rather portraits of old houses. According to Dr. Elisabeth Leopold, this rendering "conveys the landscape of a soul with its growth and decay".
Leopold Museum: Largest Schiele collection worldwide - the most frequently visited museum in the Museums Quartier
While the Leopold Museum was obliged to part with this important work, it is in the fortunate position of owning several other exceptional cityscapes by Egon Schiele. The Leopold Collection, which is housed in the Leopold Museum, boasts the largest Schiele collection worldwide. Comprising 41 paintings and approximately 190 works on paper, it is not only the most comprehensive Schiele collection, but, with a focus on works from the period between 1910 and 1915, also that of the highest quality. With its emphasis on eminent examples of Viennese art from around 1900 (Gustav Klimt, Kolo Moser, Vienna Workshops), on Expressionism (Gerstl, Kokoschka, Schiele) as well as on Austrian Classical Modernism, the Leopold Museum attracts an average of 350.000 visitors per year. This makes it the most frequented museum in the Vienna MuseumsQuartier and a veritable "temple" of Austrian art from the 19th and the early 20th century.
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SOURCE Leopold Museum