Portrait of Irma von Guggenberg
351 × 272 mm. (13 ⅔ × 10 ¾ in.)
Signed with monogram, lower right: "N"
Provenance:Private collection, Tyrol, acquired directly from the artist.
Further information:Ernst Nepo was the leading representative of the Neue Sachlichkeit in Austria, working most of his life in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, where he had settled in 1918. Born in northern Bohemia, Nepo first studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Teplitz before moving to Vienna in about 1913 where he studied at the Academy of Applied Arts. After the war, in about 1918 he settled in Innsbruck where he spent most of his life and long career. In 1920 he changed his name from the Czech Nepomucky to Nepo.
By 1925, when this portrait was made, Nepo had become one of the leading representatives of the Neue Sachlichkeit in Austria. He was one of the founders of the Tyrolean artists association called Waage, which included Wilhem Prachensky, Leo Sebastian Humer and Rudolf Lehrnert. In 1927 he was admitted to the Secession in Vienna and in 1939 to the Vienna Künstlerhaus.
This portrait of Irma von Guggenberg was made in preparation of an oil painting executed in 1925 and now in a private collection, Tyrol . Irma von Guggenberg, née Streichert (Pola, Istrien 1886-1946 Brixen) was the wife of Otto von Guggenberg (1887-1971), a member of a prominent family in Brixen (South Tyrol) and nephew of Otto von Guggenberg (1848-1914), the founder of a famous private clinic and spa, which operated uninterruptedly under the family's ownership until 2017. Irma's husband Otto was a politician, who had been a member of the South Tyrolean delegation at the peace negotiations in Paris in 1919, and a member of parliament in Rome.
Strongly influenced by Egon Schiele and, more generally, German Expressionism, Nepo made a great number of self-portraits. The same year as our drawing, Nepo made his best-known Self-portrait at an Easel, now in the Landesmuseum, Tyrol . Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Nepo was a sought-after portraitist, in addition to executing large murals in churches in Tyrol, as well we a number of stage designs. Another study for the portrait of Irma von Guggenberg, showing the sitter en face and executed in the same technique as ours, is in a private collection.
 S. Höllar, Ernst Nepo. Zwischen Expression und Sachlichkeit, Vienna-Bolzano, 2001, pp. 39-40, fig. 36.
 Ibid., p. 56, pl 40.
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