A Queens man is said to have stumbled into a fortune after finding an original drawing by renowned Austrian artist Egon Schiele – who died more than a century ago — in a Queens thrift store.
By Howard M. Riell
The drawing’s value is being placed at approximately $200,000.
The purchaser, whose name has not been made known, found the expensive drawing at a Habitat for Humanity thrift shop in Woodside, Queens, according to The Art Newspaper. Soon after, he reportedly reached out to Jane Kallir, director of Galerie St. Etienne.
“Ninety percent of the time they’re wrong,” Kallir is said to have told the store, according to the New York Post. “Most of them are fakes—egregious copies.”
The buyer took the etching to the gallery, where Kallier confirmed it was genuine. “It was a girl who modeled for Schiele frequently, both alone and sometimes with her mother, in 1918,” Kallir told the Post. She also pointed out that the art work had probably been one in a series used as studies for Schiele’s final lithograph, titled simply “Girl.”
“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,” Kallir told the Post. ““There are very few people in the history of art who can draw like that.” The drawing is on display at Galerie St. Etienne in Manhattan through Oct. 11.”
“If it sells, the man who found the drawing plans to donate some of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity New York City, Kallir said, according to CNN.
“We are ecstatic!” Karen Haycox, chief executive of Habitat for Humanity New York City, told The Art Newspaper. “And, maybe a little bit in shock but ultimately really happy for all involved.
According to CNN, Haycox added, “I can’t help but think that were it not for the Habitat NYC ReStore, this piece of art history might have ended up in a landfill, lost forever.”
“Kallir even placed the work alongside two others that may have been drawn in that same modeling session,” according to the web site artsy.net. “Kallir observed in her authentication of the drawing the specific cream wove paper and the type of black pencil used by Schiele. She also pointed out stylistic notes specific to Schiele, saying: “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 [. . .] There are very few people in the history of art who can draw like that.”