Auctions Market News

Egon Schiele Will Lead Christie’s Imp-Mod Evening Sale In February

Egon Schiele, Selbstbildnis mit gespreizten Fingern (Self-Portrait with Spread Fingers), 1909.COURTESY CHRISTIE'S

Egon Schiele, Selbstbildnis mit gespreizten Fingern (Self-Portrait with Spread Fingers), 1909.


Christie’s next Impressionist and modern evening sale will be held February 2 in London. Highlights include Marc Chagall’s Les mariés de la Tour Eiffel, estimated at £4.8 million–£6.8 million ($6.9 million–$9.8 million); a Pablo Picasso still life from 1937, “painted on the eve of Guernica,” according to the auction house, estimated at £4.5 million–£6.5 million ($6.5–$9.3 million); Fernand Léger’s Le moteur, estimated at £4 million–£6 million ($5.7–$8.6 million); and Selbstbildnis mit gespreizten Fingern (Self-Portrait with Spread Fingers), a 1909 self-portrait by Austrian painter Egon Schiele, which carries an estimate of £6 million-£8 million ($8.6 million–$11.5 million). Schiele painted it at the age of 19. The painting sold at Christie’s London in 2007, going for £4,500,000 ($8,824,500).

N.B., those of you still in mourning over David Bowie: The singer, according to a 1978 profile in the New York Times was set to appear in a biographical film about Schiele called Wally, named for Walburga “Wally” Neuzil, Schiele’s muse. The film’s director was Clive Donner, and Charlotte Rampling (!) would star alongside Bowie, according to Tobias Rüther’s book Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin. Renée Price, the director of the Neue Galerie in New York, has argued that Schiele was an important influence on Bowie while he was living in Germany, working on his so-called Berlin Trilogy. See the hands on the cover of Heroes, as compared to the hands in the Schiele self-portrait pictured here.

The film never panned out, though a different movie about Schiele, called Exzess und Bestrafung, was released in 1980. It stars Jane Birkin as Wally, and features a score by Brian Eno, Bowie’s collaborator on the Berlin Trilogy. This information, I would imagine, is of particular importance to collectors interested in both Bowie and German Expressionism, with several million dollars to spare, who also happen to be reading right now. If you’re out there, hello, and you seem A-OK to me.

Christie’s sale carries a total estimate of £87.3 million–£129.1 million ($125.8 million–$186.1 million).

© 2019 ARTnews Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. ARTnews® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.