Market News

Early Schiele Painting, Estimated at $30 M. to $40 M. by Sotheby’s, Could Shatter Artist’s Auction Record

Egon Schiele, Danaë (1909).COURTESY SOTHEBY'S

Egon Schiele, Danaë, 1909.


The consignments keep on coming. Today, we get word that Sotheby’s has managed to snag what it’s calling the “first masterpiece” by the Austrian Egon Schiele, Danaë (1909), a nude that he painted when he was 19. (He would die of the Spanish Flu nine years later.)

The work is estimated to sell for between $30 million and $40 million, putting it within striking distance of the artist’s current high mark, set in 2011 at Sotheby’s in London, where a landscape painted at the height of his powers went for £24.7 million pounds ($39.8 million).

With an estimate in line with Schiele’s all-time top price, Sotheby’s is betting on the market’s thirst for transitional works that show the artist coming into his own stylistically.

Danaë makes a bold and compelling statement, introducing his iconic aesthetic: the flattened pictorial space, the angular line, the radical cropping and stippled flesh rendered in pinks and greens,” Simon Shaw, co-head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern department, said in a release. “We have witnessed strong demand for breakthrough masterpieces, from Munch’s Vampire to Picasso’s La Gommeuse, and we look forward to presenting Schiele’s Danaë to collectors and institutions in May.”

In addition to word of the Schiele, news came over the transom regarding a few more major eight-figure lots in the Imp-mod sale at Sotheby’s. Claude Monet’s Le Bassin aux nymphéas (1917–20) is expected to go for somewhere in the ballpark of $14 million to $18 million, while Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection (1915) is estimated at $12 million to $18 million. And a bust that Alberto Giacometti made of his brother Diego—from the collection of David Finn, the founder of PR firm Ruder Finn—is estimated at $10 million to $15 million.

The Impressionist and modern art evening sale will be held at Sotheby’s York Avenue salesroom in New York May 15.

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