A Slight Case of Bartering

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Rubens LadyA Slight Case of Bartering

Wilhelm von Bode’s memoirs offer another proof to the existence of the portraits of Barthold Suermondt and Nancy Haniel Suermondt (as mentioned in the previous post). Von Bode mentions that instead of receiving a full payment for their portraits, Winterhalter agreed to accept “zwei treffliche Frauenbildnisse von Rubens und Bordone” instead [Bode 1997, 305-6].

This off-the-cuff remark reveals that Winterhalter was not averse to bartering for his services, and also demonstrates how highly Winterhalter’s portraits were valued at the time, as the swap for two Old Master paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Paris Bordone seemed like a fair deal to such a seasoned art collector as Barthold Suermondt.

Von Bode goes on to say that Friedrich, Crown Prince of Prussia, saw the two Old Master portraits in Winterhalter’s studio in Baden (presumably in Karlsruhe), and immediately decided that these should be added to the collection of artworks he was gathering for his museum in Berlin (today the Bode Museum). This may have taken place around 1867 when the Crown Prince and his wife, Crown Princess Victoria, commissioned a pair of portraits from Winterhalter and presumably visited his studio in the process.

The artist promised that the Crown Prince could have the two Old Master portraits after his death. However, when Winterhalter died in 1873, it was discovered that the two paintings were bequeathed to his brother, Hermann Winterhalter. They were still in Hermann’s collection at the time of his death in 1891.

Under the terms of Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter’s will, the Rubens and Bordone paintings were offered to Victoria, Dowager Empress of Germany, at 50.000 marks. To the best of my knowledge, the Rubens portrait is today in the collection of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin; while the Bordone portrait remained by descent in the Empress’s family, and is today at the Schloß Fasanerie, Fulda.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2014

New Entries – Portraits of the Suermondt Family

August 11, 2014 § 1 Comment

New Entries – Portraits of the Suermondt Family

Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929), German art historian and curator, founder and inaugural director of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, which now bears his name, mentions in his memoirs, Mein Leben (Berlin: Nicolai 1997) that Franz Xaver Winterhalter painted portraits of Barthold Suermondt and his wife [306].

The sitter is undoubtedly Barthold Suermondt (1818-87), a German entrepreneur, banker, philanthropist, and art collector. Franz Wild does not include his portrait on his posthumous list of Winterhalter’s work; but a portrait described as ‘La petite fille de Mr Suermondt’ is mentioned among the works painted in 1866 (Cat No 820; Wild 1894, 45; Winterhalter 1987/88, 235, no 353). It would be fair to assume that Suermondt’s portrait might also date from the same period, that is from the middle of the 1860s.

Suermondt’s first wife, Amalie Elisabeth Cockerill (1815-1859), died in 1859; and in 1861 he married secondly Nancy Friedricke Haniel (1843-1896). Therefore, if the portraits were indeed painted in the mid-1860s, the pendant portrait would certainly depict Suermondt’s second wife.

The present location of these portraits is unknown. Until further information comes forth to either confirm or refute their existence, they are entered into the Catalogue Raisonné respectively under nos 820a and 820b among other portraits painted around the year 1866.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2014

Sitters Suggested – Bölger and Burckhardt Families

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Anna BurckhardtSitters Suggested – Bölger and Burckhardt Families

Franz Wild mentions in his posthumous list of paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter a portrait of Mme Boelger Burkhardt, painted in or around 1866 (Cat No 811a; Wild 1894, 45; Winterhalter 1987/88, 234, no 350).

An internet research suggests that the sitter in the portrait might be Anna Burckhardt (1837-1923), who married in 1855 August Bölger (1828-1867) (www.stroux.org [sighted 10/08/2014]).

The current research suggests that she is also the only woman who had a combination of these two surnames at the time. She was a Swiss national, and the research suggests that in 1866 and 1867 Winterhalter may have travelled to Southern Germany and perhaps to Switzerland, during which time the sittings for the portrait may have been arranged.

Nothing further is known about the sitter apart from a photograph of her taken some time during the 1860s, in the collection of the Universitätsbibliothek Basel http://www.ub.unibas.ch/ [sighted 10/08/2014].

The present whereabouts of the portrait are unknown. Any further information regarding Anna Burckhardt, Frau August Bölger, and her portrait by Winterhalter, would be most appreciated and gratefully acknowledged in my research.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2014

Sales Results: Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium

April 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Charlotte Belgium 1845 Winterhalter

Dear Friends,

Apologies for a prolonged silence – I’ve been travelling a bit, visiting some truly amazing places, public museums, royal palaces, private collections, auction houses, and art galleries in search of works by Winterhalter brothers. I will share some of my findings in the subsequent blogs.

But, firstly, an update on a previous blog.

On 9 and 10 January 2014 I posted an entry about Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium, which was coming up for sale at Sotheby’s New York – see http://franzxaverwinterhalter.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/portrait-of-princess-charlotte-of-belgium-1840-1927-c-1845-46-cat-no-311b-sothebys-new-york-part-1/ and http://franzxaverwinterhalter.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/portrait-of-princess-charlotte-of-belgium-1840-1927-c-1845-46-cat-no-311b-sothebys-new-york-part-2/

I am truly thrilled to share with you that this beautiful painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and His Studio, which was estimated at USD $ 60,000-80,000, was sold for USD $ 75,000.

The sales result for this painting represents to me a further example of the general increase in value of works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter at auction (as opposed to gallery / retail market which has a different and / or independent price structure).

Two more portraits by the Winterhalter brothers (that I am aware of) are about to be sold in France, so it will be interesting to see whether the example set by the New York sale will be repeated in Europe. More details to follow.

http://www.sothebys.com/

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 4]

January 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 4]

[Continued from Part 3]

As it has become customary in my blog entries, at this point in time I usually furnish the information about the sitter’s descendants.

The sitter, HSH Wilhelm August Eduard Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Herzog von Sachsen (Bushy Park, London 11.10.1823-London 16.11.1902), married on 27.11.1851, Lady Augusta Catherine Gordon-Lennox (Goodwood House, Sussex 14.01.1827-London 3.04.1904).

His wife, daughter of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1790-1860), and Lady Caroline Paget (1796-1874, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey), was not considered of equal birth under the German law. The marriage was deemed to have been morganatic, and the bride received a courtesy title of Gräfin von Dornburg from her future father-in-law. However, in Britain, at least since 1886, both husband and wife were consistently referred to as Their Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

The couple had no children.

Augusta Gordon-Lennox Dornburg 1856

It is worthwhile pointing out that Lawrences featured in the same auction in October 2006, a portrait of Lady Augusta Catherine Gordon-Lennox, Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (lot 1556).

A comparison with the sitter’s photographs which were taken around this time irrefutably proves the identity of the sitter. While this is a beautifully executed portrait, which also bears all the quintessential hallmarks of the mid-nineteenth-century portraiture (the portrait is allegedly dated as having been painted in 1856), unfortunately, it is impossible to attribute it to Winterhalter. Not only it differs stylistically from Winterhalter’s oeuvre, it is signed by another artist. Albeit the signature is illegible, according to the catalogue, the unknown artist’s initials T and H can be clearly made out.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 3]

January 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 3]

[Continued from Part 2]

As it has become customary with my blog entries, here is an abbreviated ancestry of the sitter, limited to the first three generations:

  1.  Wilhelm August Eduard Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Bushy-Park 11.10.1823-London 16.11.1902)
  2. Carl Bernhard Fürst von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Weimar 30.05.1792-Liebenstein 31.07.1862), m.Meiningen 30.05.1816
  3. Ida Prinzessin von Sachsen-Meiningen (Meiningen 25.06.1794-Weimar 4.04.1852, sister of Bernhard II von SM)
  4. Karl-August Großerzog von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Weimar 3.09.1757-Graditz 14.06.1828), m.Karlsruhe 3.10.1775
  5. Luise Auguste Landgräfin von Hessen-Darmstadt (Berlin 30.01.1757-Weimar 14.02.1830)
  6. Georg I Friedrich Karl Herzog von Sachsen-Meiningen (Frankfurt 4.02.1761-Meiningen 24.12.1803), m. Langenburg 27.11.1782
  7. Luise Eleonore Prinzessin von Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Langenburg 11.08.1763-Meiningen 30.04.1837)
  8. Ernst August II Konstantin Herzog von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Weimar 2.06.1737-Weimar 28.05.1758), m. Braunschweig 16.03.1756
  9. Anna Amalie Herzogin von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (Wolfenbüttel 24.10.1739-Weimar 10.04.1807)
  10. Ludwig IX Landgraf von Hessen-Darmstadt (Darmstadt 15.12.1719-Pirmasens 6.04.1790), m.1st Zweibrücken 12.08.1741
  11. Karoline Henriette Christine Pfalzgräfin von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld (Strassburg 9.03.1721-Darmstadt 30.03.1774)
  12. Anton Ulrich Herzog von Sachsen-Meiningen (Meiningen 22.10.1687-Frankfurt 27.01.1763), m.2nd Homburg vor der Hohe 26.09.1750
  13. Charlotte Amalia Prinzessin von Hessen-Philippsthal (Philippsthal 11.08.1730-Meiningen 7.09.1801)
  14. Christian Albrecht Ludwig Furst zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Langenburg 27.03.1726-Lidwigsruhe 4.07.1789), m. Gedern 13.04.1761
  15. Karoline Prinzessin zu Stolberg-Gedern (Gedern 27.06.1732-Langenburg 28.05.1796)

To be continued … [see part 4].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

[Continued from Part 1]

Winterhalter depicts Prince Edward in a head-and-shoulders format, in half-turn to the right, and facing the viewer. The prince is shown attired very modestly in the portrait, wearing an elaborately tied black silk cravat over a starched white shirt and a simple jacket. However, the simplicity of his garments is very typical of the mid-nineteenth-century style of the upper classes. As I explore in my forthcoming thesis on Winterhalter, following the upheavals of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, scions of royal and aristocratic dynasties broadly adopted sensible, sober, and sombre garments of the middle classes to emphasise their subordination to the services of the country, rather the incident of birth and hereditary privileges.

Prince Edward’s aunt, Queen Adelaide, whose own children died in infancy, lavished all her motherly attention on her nieces and nephews on both sides of the channel. Prince Edward, son of Queen Adelaide’s sister, Ida von Sachsen-Meiningen, Fürstin von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, was among  them. He was born, and spent much of his childhood and youth, in England, becoming a close friend of the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII). In fact, Winterhalter’s original portrait, which is presently in the British Royal Collection, was bequeathed to Edward VII upon the sitter’s death. After becoming a naturalised British citizen in 1841, Prince Edward began to pursue career in the military, and fought valiantly during the Crimean War, during which he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. From 1855, he became ADC to Queen Victoria. Prince Edward retired from active service in 1890 with the rank of Commander-in-Chief.

To be continued … [see part 3].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

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