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Seated Female Nude, 1908

Leopold Museum,
Leopold Museum,
Distemper (tempera) on canvas, verso: Tempera on canvas
166×116 cm


  • Richard Gerstl

    (Vienna 1883–1908 Vienna)

Currently on display at OG3
The work shows a female nude sitting in front of a mirror in a relaxed pose. With her rounded shoulders, her arms hanging down and her crossed feet, the model’s stance does not correspond to the seductive ideal. Rather, the work conveys a familiar, unexcited atmosphere. The artist dispensed with a detailed rendering of the woman’s body and face, while the background, too, is merely hinted at with swift brushstrokes. This work was one of the last paintings Richard Gerstl (1883–1908) created prior to his suicide on 4th November 1908, for which he used an already painted canvas. The reverse side shows the completed painting Portrait of a Young Woman in a Light Blue Dress with a Plumed Hat, executed using various degrees of Pointillism. While the identity of the model is unknown, the female nude on the front is believed to be Mathilde Schönberg (1877–1923). She secretly visited Gerstl in his new studio which he had only moved into on 18th October. The use of an already painted canvas, the choice of tempera – which dries much more quickly than oil paint – and the rapid execution all indicate that the artist was under time pressure and fearful of being discovered.

Object data

  • Richard Gerstl
Seated Female Nude
Alternative title
Verso: Portrait of a Young Woman in a Light Blue Dress with a Plumed Hat, 1906
Art movement
Distemper (tempera) on canvas, verso: Tempera on canvas
166×116 cm
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 648
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Richard Gerstl. Inspiration - Vermächtnis, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger u.a., Köln 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 27.09.2019-20.01.2020).
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).
  • Wien 1900. Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Diethard Leopold/Peter Weinhäupl, Wien u.a. 2009.

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Nachlass Richard Gerstl, Wien (1908);
August und Alois Gerstl, Wien (1908-1931); (1)
Neue Galerie, Wien (1931-1954); (2)
Galerie Würthle, Wien (1954-1968); (3)
Familie Kamm, Zug, Schweiz (1968);
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1968-1994); (4)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994).

  1. Bildvorderseite: Nachlassbestätigung; Otto Kallir, Richard Gerstl (1883-1908). Beiträge zur Dokumentation seines Lebens und Werkes, in: Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie, Jg. 18 (1974), Nr. 62, S. 125.
  2. Kallir, Gerstl, S. 162f u. S. 126f. Dr. Otto Nirenstein erstellt 1931 ein Nachlassverzeichnis, das Bild “Sitzender Frauenakt (Studie)” erhält die Nummer 51. Ankauf von 36 Gemälden von Alois Gerstl.
  3. Kallir, Gerstl, S. 135; Katalog der Secession, Wien 1966, Nr. 17; Kunsthaus Zug, Karteikarte der Galerie Würthle.
  4. Kunsthaus Zug, Karteikarte der Galerie Würthle.

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