Winterhalter Exhibition at Galeries Jacques Selgmann, Paris, 1928

March 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

1865 Essling WinterhalterSaturday, 17 March 2012 

Winterhalter Exhibition at Galeries Jacques Selgmann, Paris, 1928

I recently came across a facsimile copy of a very rare and valuable exhibition catalogue of Winterhalter’s works, which took place at Galeries Jacques Selgimann et Fils in Paris in 1928. The exhibition was ostensibly inspired by the recent sale of Empress Eugénie’s estate in London, which included a number of important portraits by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The exhibition was organised by the Parisian art dealer Jacques Seligmann, who purchased Winterhalter’s portrait of the Empress in the 18th-Century dress from the above-mentioned sale, with the curatorial assistance from Armand Dayot, a French art critic and historian, who also contributed an important introductory essay to the catalogue.

The examination of the catalogue resulted in the following catalogue updates:

–          Armand Dayot mentions a portrait of a Countess von Grafenstein as an outstanding example of Winterhalter’s early paintings of the Munich period. Further information on this portrait is unknown; neither is the exact identity of the sitter, as there were several women of that title during the late 1820s / early 1830s. It is provisionally placed in the catalogue raisonné under cat no 39b.

–          A brief note to the portrait of Mlle Paule Heine-Furtado (see cat no 809a) states that the portrait shows the sitter at the age of 16. This places the portrait around c.1863-64. Nevertheless, purely on stylistic grounds, I believe this to be a later painting, dating from c. 1866-67, which also coincides with Mlle Heine-Furtado’s first marriage to the Duc d’Elchingen, Prince de La Moskowa (see illustration left).

1846 Pourtales Winterhalter

–          The sitter’s name in the cat no 313 has been altered to that of Mlle Marguerite Renouard de Buissière, Comtesse Auguste de Pourtalès (1840-1926) rather than that of her cousin, Mlle Mélanie de Bussière, Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès (1838-1919), as was stated in Winterhalter 1987/88 (see illustration right).

–          The exhibition included a portrait of Anna Thillon, a famous opera singer (see cat no 891). This is the only item in the exhibition catalogue with a note regarding its provenance. According to the catalogue note, it was commissioned by composer Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871); bequeathed by him to composer and theatre director Camille du Locle (1832-1903); and bequeathed by the latter to Opéra Comique, Paris, c. 1871, where it was badly damaged by fire in 1887: “Fort heureusement le visage d’une beauté si tendrement rayonnante, a été miraculeusement épargné ainsi que le frais décolleté où fleurit un petit bouquet délicieusement peint.” It is perhaps a later restoration of the portrait that impedes its full authentication as a Winterhalter original.

Among the most felicitous discoveries was that Hermann Winterhalter was not overlooked! Dayot dedicates at least a full page to Hermann in his introductory essay, and states: “Sa clientèle de modèles n’atteignit pas à la hauteur hiérarchique de celle de son frère, mais il trouva parfois cependant de flatteuses occasions d’exercer avec succès son réel talent de peintre de la figure, comme dans l’exécution des beaux portraits d’Amaury Duval et de Mme Furtado, pour ne citer que deux de ses meilleures peintures.”

Neither further details nor present location of these two portraits by Hermann Winterhalter (i.e. those of Eugène Amaury Pineux Duval, dit Amaury Duval (1808-1885) and Mme Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-1896), née Furtado) are presently known; and only the portrait of Mme Furtado-Heine was shown at the exhibition (no 10). The latter was also included in Franz Wild’s posthumous list of Hermann Winterhalter’s works.

Both works have been entered in my preliminary catalogue of Hermann Winterhalter’s works as nos 139 and 16 respectively.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2012

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