Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the ‘Other’ Demidov Portrait

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

842a 68 Demidova Meshcherskaia Winterhalter

Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the ‘Other’ Demidov Portrait

Further patronage by the Demidov family is suggested by a portrait in the Museum of Fine Arts, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The painting is known as a Portrait of a Lady, but it has also been suggested that this is a portrait of another woman from the Demidov family (illustrated on the left). In this entry, I would like to firmly establish the identity of this sitter and the date of the painting.

The research into the Demidov family history suggests that the woman in the portrait is no other than Princess Maria Elimovna Meshcherskaia [Княжна Мария Элимовна Мещерская] (1844-1868), who married in June 1867 Pavel Pavlovich Demidov, 2nd Prince di San Donato (1839-1885), son of the sitter discussed in the previous post (Avrova Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina, née Stjernvall, 1808-1902). Her identity is confirmed by contemporary photographs of Princess Maria just before her marriage, which show the same distinctive, almost Oriental beauty, elongated oval of the face, large soulful eyes, and the prominent nose (see the three images below).

Meshcherskaia-Demidova 04Meshcherskaia-Demidova 03Meshcherskaia-Demidova 01Princess Maria Meshcherskaia is predominantly known today as the first love of Alexander III, Emperor of Russia when a Grand Duke and only third in line to the throne. However, upon the death of his older brother, Alexander stood to inherit the Russian Imperial Crown, and under the pressure from his parents, he gave up Princess Maria Meshcherskaia to marry a girl from his own caste, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, the future Empress Maria Feodrovna. Princess Meshcherskaia was ordered to leave St Petersburg, and while in Paris she met – and married shortly afterwards – Prince Paul Demidov, one of the most eligible bachelors and wealthiest Russian aristocrats.

But her newly found happiness in married life was not to last. Princess Maria died in August 1868 two days after giving birth to her only child, Elim Pavlovich Demidov, future 3rd Prince di San Donato (1868-1943).

842 68 Demidova WinterhalterWinterhalter’s portrait of the ill-fated Princess was most likely painted within a space of fourteen months, between June 1867 and August 1868. The existence of Winterhalter’s portrait of Princess Marie’s mother-in-law, Avrova Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina, which also dates from around c. 1868 (oil on canvas, 60.0 x 50.0 cm, Private Collection, FXW cat no 842, illustrated left), suggests a possibility that both portraits were commissioned from Winterhalter simultaneously, and there are numerous precedents in Winterhalter’s practice to paint various members of the same family within a short period of time, more often than not within a space of a few months. The date of the portrait can be further confirmed by its comparison with the recently-surfaced portrait of Sophie, Duchesse de Morny (née Princess Troubetzkaia; 1838-1896), also from c. 1868 (oil on canvas, present location unknown, no 846, illustrated lower right). Both portraits bear striking compositional similarities and show both sitters within an oval portrait format, standing at three-quarter-length, enveloped in a fur-edged wrap.

663 59 Troubetzkaia Winterhalter846 68 Morny WinterhalterTherefore, both the date and the identity of the sitter can now be firmly established, as a the portrait of Princess Maria Elimovna Meshcherskaia, Princess Demidova di San Donato, of c. 1868 (FXW cat no 842a).

It is an interesting twist of fate, that the widower, Prince Paul Demidov, married secondly, three years later, in June 1871, Princess Elena Petrovna Troubetzkaia [Княжна Елена Петровна Трубецкая] (1853-1917), whose mother, Princess Elizaveta Esperovna Troubetzkaia (née Princess Beloselsaia-Belozerskaia; 1834-1907), was captured by Winterhalter in the famous, effervescent 1859 portrait (oil on canvas, 147.0 x 108.0 cm, Private Collection, FXW cat no 663, illustrated lower far right).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

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Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Demidov Portrait

June 28, 2012 § 3 Comments

Avrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 Winterhalter

Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Demidov Portrait

In this entry, I propose that the portrait by F.X. Winterhalter traditionally identified as a portrait of Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte, Princess Demidova di San-Donato (1820-1904) is in fact a portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina, née Stjernvall [Аврора Карловна Демидова-Карамзина, ур. Шернваль] (1808-1902).

BONAPARTE MATHILDE 02

BONAPARTE MATHILDE

The first inference that the Demidov family offered patronage to Franz Xaver Winterhalter is to be found in Franz Wild’s posthumous list of Winterhalter’s works, which includes a reference to a portrait of a woman from the Demidov family: Mme Demidoff 1868 (Wild 1894, 45). As with all references on Wild’s list, no further information is given.

The next indication of this patronage was a portrait of a lady at Sotheby’s Russian Paintings, Drawings, Watercolours and Sculpture auction in London, 5 March 1981, lot 40 (oil on canvas, oval, 60 x 50cm, sold USD $7,840). The portrait was unsigned and unprovenanced, yet it was described as a Portrait of Mathilde Bonaparte, daughter of Jerome Bonaparte, wife of Prince Anatole Demidoff [sic]. Sotheby’s supported this identification with a short précis of Princesse Mathilde’s biography.

Unfortunately, I only have a black-and-white image of this portrait, so I would be most grateful if anyone in the ethersphere, who might possess a colour version of it, could forward it to me – this of course would be most dutifully and gratefully acknowledged! Nevertheless, even on the basis of the extant image, the portrait is readily attributable as an autograph Winterhalter from his later period.This identification was accepted by the editors of Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe 1830-70, who in their monumental exhibition catalogue linked the entry on Wild’s list with the portrait at Sotheby’s: “370. Mme Demidoff, 1868. Presumably Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte, Comtesse Demidoff. Head and shoulders, oval, 60 x 50, Private Collection.” (Winterhalter 1987-88, 235).

However, as my Winterhalter research was progressing, I began to question the identity of the sitter. Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte separated from Anatoly Demidov, Prince di San Donato (1813-70) in 1846; she was thence known by her maiden name and was commonly referred to by all her contemporaries as Princesse Mathilde. While Wild’s list is rife with spelling errors, the titles for most part are correct. It would have been unthinkable, therefore, that either Winterhalter as late as 1868 or his nephew as late as 1894 would have referred to the Princesse in their books as a mere Mme Demidoff.

Furthermore, no chroniclers or biographers of Princesse Mathilde mention her sitting to Winterhalter, which corresponds with the alleged animosity between the Princesse and Eugénie, Empress of the French (1826-1920), who was among Winterhalter’s premier patrons; neither is the portrait reproduced in any publications, past or present, on the Princesse. Last but not least, even with Winterhalter’s well-known propensity for the admissible degree of flattery and idealisation, the lady in the portrait looks to be in her fifties or early sixties. Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte was in her late forties, and while every artist who painted her subjugated the Princesse’s visage to his own aesthetic ideal, the subtle mimetic differences are also apparent, especially in the shorter oval of the face and a more pronounced  jaw line.

Demidova_s_synom_PavlomDEMIDOVAAurora_StjernvallThese observations initiated a research into other Demidov women who were alive and in their fifties or sixties in the late 1860s. One of them stood out most prominently: Eva Aurora Charlotta Stjernvall (1808-1902), more commonly known under her Russian name as Avrora Karlovna Stjernvall [Аврора Карловна Шернваль], who married Pavel Nikolaevich Demidov [Демидов] (1798-1840), and upon becoming a widow, she married secondly Andrei Nikolaevich Karamzin [Карамзин] (1814-54). After her second widowhood, Avrora Karlovna continued to be commonly referred to by her first husband’s name. Through her first husband, who was Anatoly Demidov’s brother, she was Princesse Mathilde’s sister-in-law; and her son, Paul (1839-1885), inherited his uncle’s illustrious princely title. On the other hand, neither Avrora nor her late husband, Pavel Demidov, had a title of nobility. Therefore, both the portrait and the entry on Wild’s list correspond more accurately as a portrait of Avrora Karlovna as a simple Mme Demidoff; who was also turning  60 at the time the portrait was painted.

DEMIDOVA aurora_karamzin PERIGNONAvrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 WinterhalterThe similarities between the woman in Winterhalter’s portrait and known portraits of Avrora Karlovna Demidova are striking, including a slightly elongated oval of the face, and a very characteristic hairstyle. Furthermore, Demidova appears in several of her portraits wearing a black lace head-dress, which corresponds with her widowed status (no portrait of Princesse Mathilde features a similar head ornament). Avrora’s portrait by Perignon bears the most striking resemblance to Winterhalter’s portrait, including the details and outlines of the lace headdress and the way in which it descends to the shoulders. Demidova’s biographers report that in 1867 she was infected with smallpox, which disfigured her face. It is quite possible that by commissioning her portrait from Winterhalter at the time of her sixtieth birthday, Avrora Karlovna entrusted the artist to eradicate the ravages of illness and age, and attempted to arrest the time and preserve the modicum of her celebrated beauty.

While my research continues, and unless evidence surfaces to the contrary, I am altering the title of this work in my catalogue accordingly as a portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Aurora Charlotta Stjernvall (see no 842).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Hermann Winterhalter – Catalogue Updates

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

117 50ch Chateaubourg WinterhalterThursday, 28 June 2012 

Hermann Winterhalter – Catalogue Updates

No 6 – Mme Say – the sitter is most certainly a member of the Say family, of the sugar refinery fame and fortune; though it is impossible to say with any certainty which one, as there were several Say women who were alive during the 1850s and 1860s;

No 12 – sitter identified – Wild refers to this portrait as Mr de Boutray. Though there were several people by that name living in Paris at the time, this is most likely to be Ernest de Boutray (1822-1920), who married in 1849 Mlle Léonie Coustou (1830-1904), sister of Mme Gustave Bronchant de Villiers (1825-1906), who was also painted by Hermann Winterhalter (q.v.);

No 13 – sitter identified – Léonie Coustou, Mme de Boutray (1830-1904) – see above;

No 29 – sitters identified – Wild refers to this painting as Mme Lafond et ses deux enfants; the Lafonds were a Parisian banking family, with a number of members alive in the 1850s and 1860s. The present portrait most probably refers to Marie Elise du Temple de Chevrigny (1831-1901), who married in 1851 Comte Etienne Edmond Lafond (1821-1875); and who in the 1850s still had two young children, Marie Thérèse Lafond, later Duchesse de Perusse des Cars (1852-1912); and Charles Louis Lafond;

No 30 – sitter identified – Wild lists this entry as Mr E. Lafond. This most likely refers to the husband of the above, Comte Edmond Lafond (1821-1875); though it is also likely to have been a portrait of his uncle, Ernest Lafond (1806-1881);

No 55 – sitter’s family name identified – Mlle Le Péletier d’Aunay; further identification of the sitter is not possible at this time, as there were several women by that name at the time;

No 66 – sitter identified – Jenny Levavasseur, Marquise de Conegliano (1837-1918) –  wife of Adriene Duchesne de Gillevoisin de Conegliano, Marquis de Conegliano (1825-1901), from 1878 Duc de Conegliano, Chamberlain at the court of Napoleon III; as such the portrait was most likely painted between 1857 and 1870;

No 77 – sitter identified – Louise Fontenilliat, Baronne Levavasseur (1801-85) – although there were several women by that name living at the time, the sitter is most likely to be Marie-Anne-Louise Fontenilliat, Baronne James Levavasseur (1801-85), mother of the Duchesse de Conegliano (q.v.);

No 90 – sitters identified – Comte de Bondy et son fils avec 3 enfants – this most likely refers to Pierre Marie Taillepied, Comte de Bondy (1766-1847); his son, François-Marie Tailliepied, Vicomte de Bondy (1802-90); and his sons, Rupert (1835-1849), Lionel (1836-1917), and Olivier (1840-95); the date of the portrait is thus most likely to be after the birth of the youngest grandchild, 1840, and the patriarch’s death in 1847. The portraits of the children are most likely those exhibited at the Salon of 1844 (q.v. no 108a below);

No 108a – sitters identified – the portrait most likely relates to the above entry, and represents Rupert (1835-1849), Lionel (1836-1917), and Olivier (1840-95), children of Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Bondy; as the portrait was exhibited at the Salon of 1844, the date of this portrait can be safely placed at c. 1843-4.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1860-1865

June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

759 65 Tyskiewicz Winterhalter

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1860-1865

No 708 – Countess Tolstaia – the sitter’s identity is not confirmed, though it is quite possibly Countess Alexandra Andreievna Tolstaia (1817-1904), lady-in-waiting and sometime Imperial Governess at Russian Imperial Court.

No 759 – Countess Tyszkiewicz – the portrait appeared at Tajan, Importants Tableaux Anciens, 12.06.1995, lot 141, erroneously catalogued as Lady Mary Hamilton. It was entered as such in my previous catalogue, no 803, which was based on Franz Wild’s entry for a portrait of Lady Mary Hamilton, also painted around 1865-66. Recent research has uncovered that this painting was reproduced in Loliée 1907 as a portrait of Countess Tyszkiewicz. The exact identity of the sitter remains unknown, as there were a number of women of that name at the time.

No 803 – this entry remains as a portrait of Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton (1850-1922), later Princesse de Monaco, Fürstin Festetics von Tolna, in deference to the corresponding entry on Franz Wild’s list.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1855-1860

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

608 57 Sina WinterhalterWednesday, 27 June 2012 

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1855-1860

No 538 – note added: Wild 1894: La fille de la Princesse Bethsy Bariatinskaia; according to its location on Wild’s list, the portrait may have been painted either c.1856-57 or c.1868. Presumably the sitter is one of the daughters of Princess Elizaveta Alexandrovna Bariatinskaia – Princesses Maria (1851-1937) or Elizaveta (1855-1938);

Nos 542 and 543 – Countess Anna Branicka and her Son Wladyslaw – portraits remained by descent in the family; disappeared during the Second World War;

No 547 – Prince Chernyshov – the portrait remained by descent in the family; disappeared during the Russian Revolution, c. 1917);

Nos 560 and 561 – Countess Marie Przezdziecka and her sons – portraits remained by descent in the family; presumed destroyed by fire at Przezdziecki’s palace in Warsaw, 1939;

No 608 – Baron Sina – image and further sitter’s details added, who has now been identified as György Simon Sina, 2nd Baron Sina de Hódos et Kizdia (1810-1876) [thank you H.A. for the image!];

No 612 – Queen Olga of Wurttemberg – the portrait was acquired from Christie’s London, 14 Jun 2006, lot 120; £ 1,072.000 – the highest price paid for a painting by F.X. Winterhalter;

No 640 – Children of Princess Sophia Alexandrovna Gagarinaexplanatory noted added: mentioned on Franz Wild’s list as ‘La Princesse Grégoire Gagarine. Ses enfants’;  respectively, portrayed children presumably are Princes Grigory (1850-1918) Andrei (1856-1921), and Alexander (1858-64); and Princesses Maria (1851-1941, see no 641) and Anastasia (1853-76);

No 658 – Wanda Fürstin zu Putbus (1837-1867) – removed from the list; a cataloguing error based on Franz Wild’s repetition of the above portrait on his posthumous list of Winterhalter’s works; a portrait of Wanda Fürstin zu Putbus by Lauchert, signed and dated 1863, is in a Private Collection (I am grateful to Ms Agnes Heine for this invaluable information).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1851-1855

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

440 51 Coburg WinterhalterWednesday, 27 June 2012 

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1851-1855 

No 434 – the sitter in the portrait identified as Mathilde Delebecque, Mme Jules Malou (1812-1899) as per the following entry; location of the portrait remains unknown;

NEW ENTRY – NO 434A – M. Jules Malou (1810-1886) – recent research has uncovered that this portrait was exhibited in Brussels in 1889, lent by the sitter’s widow, Mme Malou; further details about the portrait remain unknown;

No 440 – Clothilde Prinzessin von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha – Sold 19th Century European Art Including Ottomans & Orientalists, Christie’s London, 15 Jun 2005, lot 145, sold £54,000;

No 454 – sitter and further details of the artwork identified – Emil Devrient (1803-1872), as Marquis Posa [from Don Carlos (1787) by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)];

No 483 – Princess Drucka-Lubicka – note added: while further research is required to confirm identity of the sitter, it is more likely to be Maria Szemioth (1833-1897), who m. 1850 Prince Alexander Drucki-Lubecki (1827-1908), rather than Princess Jadwiga Radziwill (1830-1863), who m. 1859 Prince Edwin Drucki-Lubecki (1828-1901).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1846-50

June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

350 50 Beaufort WinterhalterWednesday, 27 June 2012 

Catalogue Updates – Works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1846-50

No 350 – Duc de Beaufort-Spontin – the portrait was sold at Christie’s Monaco, 3 December 1988, lot 68, $195,322 ; erroneously identified as Portrait en buste d’une petite fille, portent une robe noire à col en dentelle et un chapeau noir à plumes [sic !] ;

No 385 – Baronne Bartholdy – the portrait was sold at Sotheby’s Paris, Tableaux et Dessins du XIXe Siècle, 25 Jun 2008, lot 24, € 312,750 ; erroneously catalogued as Portrait de la Baronne Henri Hottinguer, née Caroline Delessert ;

No 388 – Mme Delessert – sold at Sotheby’s Paris, Tableaux et Dessins du XIXe Siècle, 25 Jun 2008, lot 25; € 90,750.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012

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