Portrait of Luise Gräfin von Langenstein und Gondelsheim (1826-1900), 1834 (cat. no. 98a) [Part 1]

January 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Luise Langenstein 1834 Winterhalter

Portrait of Luise Gräfin von Langenstein und Gondelsheim (1826-1900), 1834 (cat. no. 98a) [Part 1]

The previous posts reminded me of another charming portrait of a child by Franz Xaver Winterhalter:  Portrait of Luise Gräfin von Langenstein und Gondelsheim (1826-1900) (1834, pencil on paper, 13.8 x 12.1 cm), which appeared at Kaupp’s Herbstauktionen, in Salzburg, on 5 October 2013, lot 4542. The portrait shows a young girl, seated at half-length, in profile to the left, but turning her head sharply towards the viewer. The drawing is remarkable for its spirit and energy. It is filled with the restless movement, relating to us the challenges faced by every artist engaged upon a child’s portrait.

The sketch is quite remarkable as a revelation of Winterhalter’s working techniques and artistic abilities. The face of the child if fully realised, making this living, breathing individual almost jump forth from the surface of the drawing, while her hands, details of the dress, and a chair on which the girl is sitting are only hinted at in rapid outlines. The juxtaposition between the finished head of the girl and the abstract rendition of other details within the drawing clearly shows what a truly gifted artist is capable of achieving on a flat, two-dimensional piece of paper.

The drawing also shows the strong academic acumen of the artist, who bases the composition of the work on two prominent intersecting diagonals, one of which crosses through the curls on the girl’s forehead, passes below her ears, along the back of her blouse and skirt. The opposing diagonal can be also perceived descending along the right-hand-side of the sitter’s face, the hands, and the folds of the fabric below. By shifting the geometrical pivot of the composition just ever though slightly to the left, the artist attains a greater sensation of movement within the rapidly-sketched work.

To be continued… [see Part 2]

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

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You are currently reading Portrait of Luise Gräfin von Langenstein und Gondelsheim (1826-1900), 1834 (cat. no. 98a) [Part 1] at The Winterhalter Catalogue.

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