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Object #34 / Arnold Schönberg: Portrait of his wife Mathilde


Belmont Music Publishers, Pacific Palisades/CA

Schönberg’s creativity in paintings and drawings was encouraged in discussions with the painter Richard Gerstl from 1906 onwards. The motifs for his initial sketches and drafts were taken from his domestic environment. In the paintings from this period Schönberg initially used portraits and studies of nature to practice various formats and techniques. Some of the early drawings were probably made in the summer resort at Lake Traun.

“On the one hand, I had a poor memory for facial features, but, on the other hand was able (formerly) to draw the face of a person with a few strokes after a single sighting. I was never able to explain these contradictions until I discovered that they stand in connection with another ability: I can copy the gaze of most people! And this is because I look people only in the eyes (so that I often do not know whether or not he has a moustache). Therefore, my drawings would also become worse and worse after the first sketches, when I wanted to add details.“ (Arnold Schönberg, Gazes, 1926)

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