An early work by Egon Schiele, painted when the artist was just 16 and still a student, has resurfaced in a private collection after it was believed to be lost. The owners of Leopold Czihaczek at the Piano (1907) have now agreed to a five-year loan of the work to the Leopold Museum in Vienna, where it will soon go on display.
Leopold Czihaczek, who is shown in profile while playing the piano, was Schiele’s uncle and legal guardian after the death of his father in 1905. Czihaczek worked as a public official and was a frequent subject for Schiele at the time.
For some time, the painting was only known to the public through preliminary studies and a black-and-white photograph from 1930. It had been owned by another ward of Czihaczek’s, Gustav Huber, until his death in 1945, and then entered another Austrian private collection. Last recorded in a 1972 catalogue raisonné, the work finally came to light again when its current owner sought advice on having it restored.