Austrian artist, Egon Schiele’s cityscape canvas wall art is expected to sell for a record price of $50 million when it goes on auction on June 12, 2011 in Sotheby’s London.
Sotheby’s auction house will offer the “Hauser mit bunter Wasche ‘Vorstadt’ II” (House with colorful Laundry, ‘Suburb’ II) for Vienna’s Leopold Museum.
Helena Newman, Chairperson of Impressionist and Modern Art of Sotheby’s said that the cityscape is one of Schiele’s greatest oil paintings.
The canvas wall art is rare in quality and is uniquely distinguished for its provenance. The painting has never been offered on the auction block before and has remained in only 2 collections since Schiele painted it in 1914.
The cityscape canvas is based on themes from the southern Bohemian town of Krumau where the artist’s mother was from. Schiele also later moved to the town with Walburga Neuzil (Wally) in 1911 to escape the stifling atmosphere of imperial Vienne.
The painting depicts houses and colorful laundry hanging from clothes lines from an elevated perspective which is typical of Schiele’s more famous cityscapes.
The “Hauser mit bunter Wasche ‘Vorstadt’ II” was painted in 1914 at the height of Schiele’s career as a controversial artist. Schiele died 4 years later from the Spanish influenza epidemic at the age of 28.
The proceeds of the sale is expected to go to a settlement for a restitution dispute over a portrait of Wally painted in 1912. A New York court upheld claims that the portrait of Wally was seized by Nazi’s, leaving the Leopold Museum liable to pay $19 million in 2010 as settlement for keeping the painting.
There have been only 3 cityscape canvas painted by Schiele that have been offered on auction in the last 10 years. One was sold for $22.4 million.