BY Frieze News Desk in News | 31 JUL 19

Egon Schiele Sketch Discovered in Thrift Store

The drawing of a nude model by the Austrian Expressionist belongs to a series of 22 other works 

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 31 JUL 19

Egon Schiele drawing, 1918. Courtesy: Galerie St. Etienne, New York

A part-time art dealer has found an Egon Schiele drawing in a charity shop in Queens, New York, which has been valued between USD$100,000 and USD$200,000, according to The Art Newspaper

The work was discovered in a branch of Habitat for Humanity by the anonymous shopper who immediately recognized the piece as a Schiele drawing. He then contacted world-renowned expert Jane Kallir, co-director of New York’s Galerie St. Etienne, who verified the drawing when she saw it in person, a year after first being contacted by the dealer. 

‘In over 30 years of authenticating Schiele’s work, I have only once before encountered a drawing with such an unlikely provenance,’ Kallir said in a press statement.

The drawing is of ‘a girl who modelled for Schiele frequently, both alone and sometimes with her mother, in 1918’, according to Kallir, and belongs to a series of 22 pencil drawings made in the year of the artist’s passing, some of which are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Leopold Museum in Vienna. 

The artwork is now on view at Galerie St. Etienne. The seller will donate a portion of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. 

‘How do we reckon with the fact that Schiele’s models were often teenagers? Regardless of the power and agency he may bestow upon them in art, what was their dynamic in life? By today’s standards, it is clearly inappropriate. Are we complicit, in looking? These are worthy questions, ones I think Schiele would welcome.’ Read Meara Sharma on the politics of seeing in Egon Schiele’s glowing, pulsating bodies.