Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka, Vienna 1900



Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka is the title of the next exhibition organised by the Grand Palais in Paris and opening on 5 October 2005. Visitors will discover a selection of 50 paintings and nearly 100 works on paper on the core themes of the four Viennese masters: allegories, landscapes and portraits.At the heart of the Secession, the Viennese Art Nouveau movement, Klimt, Schiele and Moser all died early in their lives in 1918. The youngest of the three, Schiele, was only 28 at the time. Despite their short careers, these artists were prolific , producing in particular large volumes of drawings and watercolours.

Some 50 drawings and watercolours by Gustav KLIMT are sold at auction every year, representing 85% of all the lots sold for the artist. Collectors generally pay USD 15,000-30,000 for a good quality piece. However, only two or three paintings come up for auction every year. Landscapes are the most sought after, and these rare, light-filled, peaceful canvasses also command the highest prices. Klimt’s record in the past ten years was GBP 13.2 million paid for a landscape on canvas, Schloss Kammer am Attersee II (1909) on 9 October 1997 at Sotheby’s London. This record came soon after the fine sale of another landscape entitled Litzlberger Keller am Attersee (1915-1916), which fetched USD 13.4 million (GBP 8.2 million).

Egon SCHIELE, whose work comes up for auction on a regular basis, is the second most expensive Viennese artist with his GBP 11.3 million sale of Town and River in 2003. Within a few years, Schiele produced over 3,200 works of art, mostly drawings. Twenty percent of them now fetch more than USD 400,000, and the artist’s index continues to rise (+65% between 1997 and June 2005). His paintings are even rarer. Fewer than 50 canvasses have come up for sale in 20 years.

The work of Oskar KOKOSCHKA, who died at the age of 94, spanned the 20th century. After following in the footsteps of Klimt, he became one of the leading artists of the Expressionism movement. While his works frequently appear in auction catalogues (nearly 200 pieces a year), his pre-1918 work is quite rare with only seven such pieces appearing at auction last year. Some of his early 20th century works are still very affordable. For example, a small tempera painting entitled Mädchen am fenster (1906-1908) went under the hammer for EUR 700 at Karl & Faber in November 2004. As his output was so extensive, prices for Kokoschka’s works have risen by only 15% since 1997.

Koloman MOSER, or “Kolo”, is not as well known as the other Viennese artists, and the market for his work is therefore more restricted. Fewer than 20 pieces come up for auction every year. In April 2005, Ditha’s SCVRZ (1912), a small drawing auctioned by Palais Dorotheum, fetched EUR 800, while his small oil painting Paisaje was sold by the Ansorena auction house for only EUR 1,500. The Exhibition at the Grand Palais may very well boost prices for Kolo, although his work remains in the shadow of that of Klimt and Schiele.