Das Früchtenmädchen @ Schuler Auktionen, Zurich,

744a Winterhalter_recto

Franz Xaver Winterhalter

744a. Das Früchtenmädchen, c. 1860-65

Oil on canvas, 46.3 x 38.0 cm


Private Collection

Last but not least, I should mention the most charming and beautiful study, Das Früchtenmädchen, which just recently came onto the art market at Schuler Auktionen, Zurich, Kunst und Antiquitätenauktion, 18-21 March 2013, lot 4341.

The painting depicts a young girl in profile, with light auburn hair brushed off the face, gathered on the nape, and secured with a tortoiseshell comb. She is wearing a simple garment of white linen, with a light turquoise-blue scarf around her neck. She is holding in her hands a platter with peaches, grapes, cherries, figs, and other fruit. The simplicity of the girl’s dress and demeanour contrasts significantly from Winterhalter’s portraits of women from the upper echelons of society, and suggests the artist is immortalising on his canvas a servant girl, or at the very least, a model posing as a servant girl bringing a platter of fruit to her master’s table.

This is not an isolated example of F.X. Winterhalter turning from straight portraiture to genre painting. The work strongly relates to the Study of a Girl in Profile (1862, oil on canvas, 58.0 x 47.0 cm, signed and dated lower right, Fr Winterhalter / 1862, private collection); and Die Briefleserin, or Portrait of a Lady Reading a Letter (early to mid-1860s, oil on canvas, 91.0 x 70.0 cm, signed, Augustinermuseum, Freiburg-im-Breisgau).

The painting, which was estimated at CHF 12,000/18,000, was sold at CHF 17,000 / € 14,000 approx., a fine result for a beautiful and rare genre painting by F.X. Winterhalter.


© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Cecile Furtado-Heine – Biographical Note

Furtado-Heine - Detail

It is worthwhile to provide the following biographical note about the sitter in the previously mentioned Hermann Winterhalter’s portrait of Mme Furtado-Heine.

Mlle Cécile Charlotte Furtado (Paris 6 March 1821 – Rocquencourt 10 December 1896) was a daughter of Elie Furtado, the chief rabbi of Bayonne, and Rose Fould, a daughter of Beer Léon Fould, banker and the mayor of Rocquencourt. She married in 1838 Charles Heine (1810-1865), a scion of a rich banking dynasty and first cousin of the poet Heinrich (Henri) Heine (1797-1856).

Mme Furtado-Heine was chiefly known for her philanthropy in the areas of medicine, education, and religion. During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, she supported the Red Cross and the ambulance services; and in 1895 she bequeathed her villa in Nice as a hospital and sanatorium for wounded and convalescent soldiers. In 1884 she founded and endowed an orphanage in the 14th Arrondissement on the street which was renamed Rue Furtado-Heine in her honour after her death, as well as similar children’s establishments in Bayone and Montrouge.

She was a generous donor to the Institut Pasteur, and her commemorative bust still adorns the halls of the Institute. Mme Furtado-Heine also generously contributed to numerous Jewish charities and benevolent organisations; and financially supported the building of new synagogues in France and Belgium.

Her charitable and philanthropic endeavours were recognised by the Government of France, and in 1896 she became the Officer of the Legion d’Honneur, a distinction very rare for a woman in the nineteenth century.


© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Portrait of Cecile Furtado-Heine @ Christie’s Paris, 15 April 2013 (cat. no. H 16)

016 60 Furtado-Heine

Hermann Winterhalter

H 16: Mme Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-1896), née Furtado

 Oil on canvas, 137.5 x 99.5 cm

Signed lower left: H. Winterhalter

Private Collection

Christie’s Paris is featuring in their Tableaux Anciens et du XIXe siècle sale in Paris, on 15 April 2013, lot 61, arguably one of the most important works by Hermann Winterhalter, Portrait of Mme Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-1896), née Furtado.

Mme Furtado-Heine is depicted standing three-quarter-length to the left, against a neutrally coloured background, facing the viewer. Her hair is parted in the middle and arranged in ringlets on the sides. She is wearing an evening black and white silk and taffeta dress decorated with a black silk bow and a pearl brooch with a drop pearl pendant at her corsage. A pelt of brown fur (possibly of sable), is covering her arms.

The portrait is considered among Hermann Winterhalter’s finest: in the foreword to the Winterhalter Exhibition in 1928, Armad Dayot wrote: “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… L’une des toiles plus réussies de l’œuvre iconographique d’Hermann, le portrait de Mme Furtado, … d’une belle générosité d’exécution…”

This important work of institutional quality and significance is estimated at € 30,000-50,000. Should it reach these estimates, it will be the second highest price ever achieved for a work by Hermann Winterhalter on the art market.


© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Portrait of a Lady @ Beaussant-Lefèvre, 5 April 2013 (cat. no. H 123)

123 57 Lady

Hermann Winterhalter

H 123. Portrait of a Lady, 1857, Paris

Oil on canvas, 115.0 x 89.0 cm

Signed, dated and inscribed lower centre left: H. Winterhalter / Paris / 1857

Private Collection

While we are on the subject of Hermann Winterhalter, two important portraits by the artist are coming up for sale in Paris.

Beaussant-Lefèvre, in their Importants Tableaux Anciens, Objets d’Art et de Bel Ameublement, on 5 April 2013, lot 49, have Hermann Winterhalter’s Portrait of a Lady, which is signed, and especially rare for Hermann Winterhalter, it is also sited and dated as painted in Paris in 1857.

The portrait depicts a lady, standing, three-quarter-length to the right, facing the viewer, hair parted in the middle with lace lappets descending to her neck and shoulders; wearing a black silk dress overlaid with black lace and matching shawl; hands crossed over below waist; with roses in her corsage and holding a fan in her left hand; the background is neutral with imitation of a skyscape.

At the time of writing, earlier provenance and the identity of the sitter remain unknown.

The portrait is modestly estimated at € 4,000-6,000. It has been on the market a few times before, so hopefully this rare signed and dated work would find a more permanent home this time round.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Jeune Fille Assise @ Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva, 13 March 2013 (cat. no H 111a)

111a 40 Jeune Fille Assise

Hermann Winterhalter

111a. Jeune Fille Assise, early to mid-1840s

Oil on canvas, 50.0 x 38.0 cm

Signed lower right: H. Winterhalter

Private Collection

A charming painting by Hermann Winterhalter recently appeared at the Hôtel des Ventes, in Geneva, on 13 March 2013 (lot 945).

It shows a young girl, depicted full-length, seated on the grass, against the background of a dark folliage. Her head is tilted to the right, her eyes gazing to the left beyond the picture plane. Her hands are resting on her limbs, the right hand cupping the left. She is wearing a dress of Mediterranean inspiration, though it is difficult to attribute it with certainly to a particular national or regional costume. Her black hair is parted in the middle, gathered at the back, and decorated with pink and white tasselled ribbons. A white embroidered shawl covers her shoulders. It is tucked into an olive-grey coloured bustier, decorated at the shoulders with large pink ribbons edged with tassels, which match the ribbons in her hair.

The girl is wearing a light golden-yellow skirt with a white apron. Red slippers edged with yellow are visible on the right hand side beneath the hemline of her skirt. She is holding in her lap what appears to be a stick with raw wool attached to the top of it and fastened with an ornamental ribbon, the design of which echoes details of costumes of Mediterranean maidens in comparable works by Hermann Winterhalter, as well as those of his brother, Franz.

Though the work is not dated, the style, brushwork, pigment application, and the overall gamut of the painting  suggests the early to mid 1840s as a possible date for this work.

The catalogue does not provide any provenance information. Originally estimated at CHF 700-900, the painting was sold for CHF 3,000 (€ 2,500 approx.).


© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Portrait de jeune fille en robe de bal @ Piasa, 21 Dec 2012

Portrait of a Lady from Piasa

Portrait de jeune fille en robe de bal @ Piasa, 21 Dec 2012

This potrait appeared at Piasa, in Paris, on 21 December 2013 (lot 107, oil on canvas, 66.0 x 55.0 cm), as by Hermann Winterhalter (est. € 2,000-3,000).

The fact that the portrait is not by the artist is apparent on stylistic grounds.

This unfortunate misattribution is further confirmed by the presence of a signature in the lower right-hand-side of the painting, which is also not in Hermann Winterhalter’s handwriting.

There is little doubt that this portrait was painted by a professional artist, most likely from the second half of the nineteenth century.

At the time of writing, the portrait remains unsold. Hopefully, with further research, the correct attribution will be found.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013

Florinda @ Koller West, 20 March 2013 (c.f. cat. no. 456)

Florinda Watercolour Copy 01

Florinda @ Koller West, 20 March 2013 (c.f. cat. no. 456)

This watercolour came up at Koller, in Zurich, Switzerland, previously on 17 September 2012 (lot 6635); and again recently on 20 March 2013 (lot 6627).

It is immediately apparent that the watercolour is based on Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s celebrated painting, Florinda, painted by the artist in 1852, exhibited that very same year at the Royal Academy in London, and immediately purchased by Queen Victoria as a birthday present for her husband, Prince Albert. The painting remains by descent in the Royal Collection (c.f. cat. no. 456).

Winterhalter must have been so satisfied with the painting that he decided to produce an almost exact replica to be exhibited at the Salon, in Paris, in 1853. The work was eventually purchased by an American collector, and is today at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (c.f. cat. no. 474).

Just who and at what point produced this watercolour remains unclear.

Florinda Watercolour Copy 02

First and foremost, the initials on the right hand side of the watercolour, F.W., are not in Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s handwriting, and this in turn makes the entire watercolour problematic.

As such, the watercolour immediately attracts greater scrutiny, and the technique, brushwork, application of (rather faded) pigments, and the interpretation of the female prototypes all comes into questioning.

Florinda Watercolour Copy 03

While it is known that Hermann Winterhalter frequently produced watercolour copies after his brother’s paintings, mainly as visual aids for lithographers and engravers, they were mainly done in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Furthermore, they were usually and clearly signed by Hermann Winterhalter. There is no indication that this practice continued into the 1850s, and in any case, Franz Winterhalter’s initials on this work that are neither in Franz’s nor in Hermann’s handwriting further throw Hermann’s authorship in doubt.

Therefore, this work might be a nineteenth-century copy by an unknown artist at best. Winterhalter’s Florinda was so celebrated at the time that it was engraved and lithographed on at least three separate occasions by three separate artists between 1857 and 1864. It is pure speculation whether or not this work might somehow relate to the production of these engravings and lithographs.

Admittedly, on both occasions, in September 2012 as well as in March 2013, Koller cautiously entered this watercolour, which measures 29.0 x 40.0 cm, in their catalogues as zugeschrieben, or ‘attributed’, with the estimates of 3,000-4,000 CHF / € 2,460-3,280. At the time of writing, the work remains unsold.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2013