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September 2022 1807 

Missing Schikaneder at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s, 22 May 2014, London

Missing work by Jakub Schikaneder discovered! Two years after the large retrospective exhibition of Jakub Schikaneder at the Waldstein Riding School, A Street Corner in Prague, dated between 1900 and 1910 appears at an auction of 19th century European painters at Sotheby’s London.

Jakub Schikaneder:  A Street  Corner in Prague / 1900–1910  oil on canvas / 105 x 84 cm Sothebyʼs London 22. 5. 2014 / Estimate: 120-180 000 GBP Jakub Schikaneder: 
A Street  Corner in Prague / 1900–1910 
oil on canvas / 105 x 84 cm
Sothebyʼs London 22. 5. 2014 / Estimate: 120-180 000 GBP


The publication issued for Schikaneder’s retrospective in 2012 mentions this work as missing. In the catalogue it is accompanied by just a black-and-white photograph and the information that the work was published in Zlatá Praha, Volume XLII from the years 1924–1925 and that it had been in the hands of the mayor of the City of Prague, Josef Rotnágl, since 1924. The information from the Sotheby’s catalogue just adds that the work comes from a private German collection and that it reached its current owner, who is not named, through his father, who purchased it in 1950. The painting comes from a body of works alluding to one of three important motifs discovered by Jakub Schikaneder for himself at the beginning of the 20th century and which accompanied him until the end of his life. The first motif, after abandoning social issues, was house interiors; the second motif was nocturnal backstreets and corners of Prague, where the auctioned painting can be categorised; and the third motif was dusks and dawns related to the painter’s journey to the North Sea and Helgoland Island in 1922.

In the painting A Street Corner in Prague, Schikaneder captured a Prague corner with a nostalgic hint of his memories and imagination. At that time, the old Prague houses he knew so intimately began to disappear slowly as a result of redevelopment and reconstruction.

Jakub Schikaneder: Contemplation / 1893  oil on canvas / 115 x 215 cm / 9 720 000 Kč /  Galerie Kodl 28. 11. 2010 Jakub Schikaneder: Contemplation / 1893 
oil on canvas / 115 x 215 cm / 9 720 000 Kč / Galerie Kodl 28. 11. 2010


A Street Corner in Prague appears on the auction market for the first time and with an estimate between 120,000 and 160,000 pounds sterling (CZK 4 million–CZK 5.3 million) it ranks at the bottom of the top ten auctioned works by Schikaneder. His most expensive work, Contemplation from 1893, was auctioned by Galerie Kodl in 2010 for CZK 9.72 million. Jakub Schikaneder is one of the best-selling Czech artists: from the almost fifty paintings that have been auctioned on the market in the past decade, 12 of them sold for more than CZK 5 million.

There was a hike in the prices of Jakub Schikaneder’s paintings five years ago, starting with the auction of another of the artist’s Prague nocturnes offered by Sotheby’s in June 2009. The painting Prague at Dusk, whose price was originally estimated at 40,000–60,000 pounds (excluding auctioneer commission), sold for a record 205,000 pounds, at that time CZK 6.4 million (excluding VAT on the commission).


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