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

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