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Sale 2514 Lot 38
GERDA WEGENER (1886-1940)
Two Women in a Window.
Watercolor, crayon, charcoal, and wash on board. 36x29 inches, 91 1/2x72 1/2 cm. Signed "Gerda Wegener" in lower right image. Framed. Circa 1920.
Estimate $15,000 - 25,000
Wegener beautifully rendered the common motif of two women gazing out from a window, between domestic and exterior space, with her characteristic sensuality and sinuous line. Stylistically, the diagonal rays of sunlight mirror her more geometric, cubist-influenced works. Her spouse and muse, Lili Elbe, served as the model on the left.
Together, Wegener and Elbe explored themes of love, sex, gender, and mystery in both life and art. Elbe also had success as a painter, primarily under the name Einar Wegener. She is known for her Impressionistic landscapes, many of which depict Parisian scenes. As the first woman to undergo gender confirmation surgery, she became a critical figure in the LGBTQ community. After her successful transition in 1930, she changed her legal name to Lili Ilse Elvenes and stopped painting. Unfortunately, as the methods were largely untested and the surgery was dangerous, she passed away from complications of her fourth surgery. In 2000, a novel loosely based on her life was published and was turned into a feature-length film, The Danish Girl, in 2015.