A drawing purchased from a charity shop in New York is estimated to be worth as much as $200,000.
The owner wishes to stay anonymous, it has been suggested that he is an art dealer who frequents charity shops looking for misplaced masterpieces.
The buyer’s price is unknown but it has been announced that it was purchased from a Habitat for Humanity store in Woodside, Queens.
Last year, Jane Kallir received an email from a member of the public claiming to have discovered a drawing by none other than Egon Schiele.
Kallir is the world-leading expert on the Expressionist artist and these calls are not uncommon for her. However, Kallir was shocked to see the similarities between this man’s drawing and the hand of Schiele.
Anyone who visited the Royal Academy’s exhibition featuring Schiele alongside fellow Expressionist Gustav Klimt, earlier this year, would see that Schiele has a very distinct way of drawing the nude form. No one understands his technique more than Kallir who immediately took interest and asked for a clearer photograph of the drawing.
The drawing is a small pencil sketch of a nude young girl lying face up. A year passed before the owner finally sent a clearer picture of the unknown girl to the gallery on May 2019. The girl in the picture had remained unknown until Kallir saw her. She witnessed the familiar face and contours of a young girl who had frequently modelled for Schiele in 1918.
After Kallir’s recognition, it became easier to authenticate the work. Discovering the provenance was the first task. In tracing the girl through Schiele’s other drawings Kallir was able to compare the twenty-two other images of the same girl, used as studies for the lithograph ‘Girl’.
In which there was even a sequence in which the found image could have slotted in suggesting that the drawing could have been produced in the same session.
Other drawings of the girl can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
The drawing has travelled to the Galerie St Etienne where it will remain on show until the 11th October.
“If you look at the way this girl is lying on her back, and you look at the foreshortening both on the rib cage and on her face, and the way you see that little nose pointing up—think about how difficult that is to do.”
If the drawing sells, the owner has pledged to donate part of the proceedings to Habitat for Humanity, the store in which he purchased the piece.