Egon Schiele's Hauser Mit Bunter Wasche Vorstadt II

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2015-06-26 10:56:02

Häuser mit bunter Wäsche, “Vorstadt” II is a 1914 painting by Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918).

The oil-on-canvas measures 100.5 x 120.5 cm, and features a cityscape comprised of houses and building stacked upon one another surrounded by lines of colourful washing, pictured from above as if seen by a bird.

 

Background

The painting was inspired by the town of Krumau in Southern Bohemia, the birthplace of Schiele’s mother and current home to a museum dedicated to the artist.

Schiele moved to the town in 1911 with his 17-year-old model and lover Valerie (Wally) Neuzil, in an attempt to escape what they perceived as the claustrophobic atmosphere of Vienna.

However, they were soon driven out of the town by locals who disapproved of their ‘liberal’ behaviour and Schiele’s alleged employment of local teenage girls as models.

Ownership

The painting’s first owner was Heinrich Böhler,an heir to the Böhler-Werke steel-producing factories and patron of Schiele. Böhler was also a artistic companion for Schiele, and the pair often visited Krumau on painting excursions together.

He bought the work upon its completion in 1914, and it remained in his collection until his death in 1940. His widow sold the painting in 1952 to the collector Rudolf Leopold, who went on to build the world’s biggest collection of Schiele’s works and establish the Leopold Museum in Vienna.

Notable sale

In May 2011 the auction house Sotheby’s announced that the painting would be appearing on the market for the very first time in its existence. It sold for $24,681,250 at London sale on June 22, against an estimated price of £22 - £30 million.

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