Portrait of Queen Adelaide (1849) by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Review of F.X. Winterhalter’s portrait of Queen Adelaide (1849, oil on canvas, HM Queen Elizabeth II, cat nos 357 & 358), in Caledonian Mercury, 4 March 1850:

“It is not generally known, that her late Majesty the Queen Dowager sat to Winterhalter for her portrait within a very short period of her demise; indeed, the last sitting took place within a month of her death. The portrait was painted expressly for her late Majesty’s brother, the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, and is a fine specimen of Winterhalter’s talent.

“It represents the Queen Dowager in a sitting posture, and admirably reserves the features of the lamented deceased. There is nothing painful in the expression, as might be apprehended by those unacquainted with the Christian calmness and humility with which her late Majesty contemplated her approaching dissolution almost up to the moment when this world closed upon her, and the picture is altogether a highly interesting work of art.

“Three copies have been made by Mr. W. Corden, of Old Windsor, respectively for her Majesty the Queen, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and his Serene Highness Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar; in addition to which Mr Lane has made a very beautiful lithographic drawing of the portrait for private distribution. The original picture is already on its way to Germany.”

[© “Portrait of the Queen Dowager”, Caledonian Mercury, 4 March 1850]

Portrait of Virginie de Sainte-Aldegonde by Hermann Winterhalter at Christie’s, 1 Feb 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Portrait of Virginie de Sainte-Aldegonde by Hermann Winterhalter at Christie’s, 1 Feb 2012 

A watercolour by Hermann Winterhalter is coming up for auction at Christie’s London, in their South Kensington rooms, on 1 February 2012, sale no 4219, 19th Century European Art, lot 96.

This very fine and charming watercolour is a copy by Hermann Winterhalter after a celebrated portrait by his brother, Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73), of Mlle Virginie Marie Louise de Sainte-Aldegonde, the future Duchesse de Rochechouart-Mortemart (1834-1900), of 1839 [Winterhalter Catalogue, no 162].

The portrait shows the five-year-old Virginie seated out of doors, in white dress with red patterned sash around her waist, pantaloons and black lace-up shoes showing from underneath the skirt. Her hair is parted in the middle and fashionably arranged in cascading ringlets. She is leaning, boldly and innocently, on a massive dog, and puts her arm around its neck. The pair is placed in a seaside setting on a small sandy hillock with sparse shrubbery on either side of the picture; a seascape with swirling clouds is visible in the background.

Winterhalter underscores the high social standing of the girl (she was a scion of an old aristocratic family) with such trappings of aristocratic portraiture as landscape setting, an architectural detail of a building in the background, as well as the dog itself, most likely a Neapolitan mastiff, used for hunting, which was historically a privilege reserved for the land-owning aristocracy. At the same time, the motif of a girl with a dog within a landscape and a quasi-Mediterranean setting give the picture a more general appeal of a genre composition that transcends the strict limitation of portraiture. This ‘universality’ was of major importance in the annals of the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century portrait painting, and Franz Xaver Winterhalter succeeds here with aplomb.

As such, this painting can be placed among other Winterhalter’s children portraits of the era, that strike a careful balance between a portrait and a genre painting, such as Princess Maria Colonna by a Garden Pool (1834, oil on canvas, Private Collection, no 91) and Children of Baron von Schweitzer (1835, oil on canvas, Private Collection, no 104).

The original portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter was lent to the exhibition Winterhalter: Portraits de Dames du Second Empire, at Galerie Jacques Seligmann, in Paris, in 1928, by its then owner and descendant of the sitter, Comte de Mortemart (no 18). (It is presumed that the portrait remains by descent in the family.)

The portrait was lithographed by Alphonse Martinet (1821-1861), and published by Goupil & Vibert on 1 June 1844; the print was subsequently exhibited by Martinet at the 1844 Salon as Jeune fille avec un chien (no 2372).

Hermann Winterhalter, an academically-trained painter and a gifted artist in his own right, frequently assisted his older brother, Franz Xaver, with preparation of copies. Given the fact that Hermann only joined Franz Xaver’s studio in Paris no earlier than 1840, this wonderful watercolour can be dated from around the early 1840s, and as such may have been prepared by Hermann Winterhalter expressly as an aide for the lithographer Martinet in preparation of a print after the portrait.

The watercolour measures 21.4 x 27 cm; signed lower right H. Winterhalter c.; and estimated at £ 2,000-£4,000. Earlier provenance is currently unknown. It has been added to my catalogue of Hermann Winterhalter’s works (under the provisionary no 137).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2012

Notes to the Winterhalter Catalogue Project

Monday, 9 January 2012

Notes to the Winterhalter Catalogue Project 

The primary and erstwhile objective for the online catalogue of works by Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter is to maintain an up-to-date CATALOGUE RAISONNE of their works, and attend to additions, changes, alterations, and corrections as soon as they come to hand, announcing them in the blogging section of the site.

For example, a watercolour by Hermann Winterhalter is coming up for auction at Christie’s in London in February. I am currently preparing an entry on this work, and it will be posted accordingly in the respective section of the online catalogue.

A slightly more ambitious side project is to utilise the blogging section to announce the appearance of works by the Winterhalter brothers on the art market; at various exhibitions; and in online and printed publications (past and present).

This is where YOUR HELP would be invaluable!

In spite of my best efforts, I am not omnipresent, and your ‘heads up’ on the works of the Winterhalter brothers at auctions, exhibitions, in the media, and in print would be most welcome and most invaluable!

Last but not least, this is also very much an awareness raising exercise in the most humble hope that those who may have works by Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter in their collections would get in touch and provide further invaluable information to this project of the utmost worthiness (absolute privacy and discretion are guaranteed).

Once again, I can be contacted through the COMMENTS section of this site, or by email at vonreisberg[at]gmail[dot]com.

I look forward and in anticipation to your comments, additions, corrections, and the most welcome contributions!

Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, Melbourne, 9 January 2012

Catalogue of Works by Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded!

Hermann Winterhalter - Girl Bitten by a Wasp 1847Sunday, 8 January 2012

Catalogue of Works by Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded!

In what is probably the world’s first, a full listing and selected images of known and recorded works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s brother, Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded – click here for the web link.

This is undoubtedly the first most comprehensive listing since Franz Wild posthumous pamphlet, which referenced roughly 100 works by Hermann Winterhalter. All of these works are listed on the webpage, but only a few are known today. The list is supplemented by another forty or so works, the existence of which is known (or has been recorded), but which do not appear on Wild’s list. I was able to find illustrations for less than a third of the catalogue entries.

Hermann Winterhalter - Portrait of Betsy Morin 1850Hermann Winterhalter emerges as a professional, academically trained, and truly gifted portrait painter in his own right. He followed Franz Xaver to Freiburg, Munich, Paris, London, and Frankfurt-am-Main. Although he was arguably overshadowed by his brother’s fame and celebrity status, he appears to have established a buoyant portrait practice of his own, being especially active between the late 1840s and the early 1860s. In addition to this, and unlike his brother, he was able to specialise – and capitalise – on the creation of charming genre scenes and popular têtes de fantaisie, which attracted positive exhibition reviews and collectors’ following. Some these works were also popularised through prints alongside those of his celebrated brother.

Apart from pursuing confidently his own painting practice, Hermann’s presence in Paris was invaluable to Franz Xaver. He effectively took over the management of his brother’s studio, frequently picked up the overflow of portrait commissions, and organised the production of copies after his brother’s portraits. Most importantly, Hermann was also responsible for production of accurate and detailed watercolour copies of Franz Xaver’s paintings, which were used as aides for engravers and lithographers in production of prints after these works.

Hermann Winterhalter - Little Darling, c. 1850sAt the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, both brothers left for Germany. After Franz Xaver’s sudden death in 1873, Hermann effectively took over the management of his brother’s multi-million dollar estate, which included artworks and archival materials (a large proportion of which were damaged during the Second World War).

This catalogue is therefore a nascent attempt to provide a firm and authoritative distinction between the works of the two brothers, so that the works by Hermann Winterhalter are no longer mistaken for those of his celebrated brother (and vice versa), and his deserved reputation as a professional and gifted painter in his own right would continue to strengthen among today’s scholars, collectors, and curators.

As always, this is still very much a Research-in-Progress, and comments, additional information, images, and research materials are welcome through the COMMENTS section or by email to vonreisberg[at]gmail[dot]com. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged.


Images of works by F.X. Winterhalter Uploaded!

Sunday, 8 January 2012 

Images of works by F.X. Winterhalter Uploaded!

Phew!!! It only took me a day and a half to re-format and upload in excess of 600 (!!!) images, but this is finally done!!!

Empress Eugenie by F.X. WinterhalterSimilarly to the catalogue entries, these images have been amassed gradually over a period of more than twenty years. Some have been copied from printed books and periodicals that date from the 1820s to the present; a large number have appeared online; and some were emailed to me directly by directors and curators of public and private museums, galleries, and collections; art specialist of numerous auction houses; owners of the actual artworks; descendants of Winterhalter’s sitters; as well as numerous private individuals, academics, and researchers from around the world – and to them my gratitude is endless.

Given the sheer number of images on this blog site, and out of respect and privacy as per individual requests, images are reproduced uniformly as low-res thumbnails.

As you can see, the catalogue is far from being fully illustrated, so additional images are welcome, and your contributions will be gratefully acknowledged!

Catalogue of works by F.X. Winterhalter Uploaded!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73), the German-born internationally renowned elite portrait specialist, has been a subject of my dedicated research, spanning a period of more than twenty years.

The research has resulted in a catalogue consisting of nearly 1,000 entries, and includes painting, works on paper (drawings, pastels, and watercolours), as well as original prints by F.X. Winterhalter after his own works as well as after those of others. The information has been drawn from printed and online sources that date from the 1820s to the present, and new information is unearthed regularly.

A printed version of the catalogue has been published as a limited edition in 2007. A concise PDF edition was uploaded online shortly afterwards. The response to both editions has been quite overwhelming. I have received numerous emails from a wide variety of individuals worldwide – directors and curators of public and private museums, galleries, and collections; art specialist of numerous auction houses; owners of the actual artworks; descendants of Winterhalter’s sitters; as well as numerous private individuals, academics, and researchers – with an invaluable input into the catalogue.

With their selfless and invaluable assistance, as well as with my own further research and investigation, the catalogue continues to grow. While it is still very much a non-remunerated, self-funded labour of love, the publication of a more comprehensive online edition (ideally) would allow for more immediate and up-to-date updates and alterations.

With respect to those who purchased the printed edition, and those who may have referenced it, I am retaining the original numbering of entries. The catalogue entries that have been added since 2007 are designated by letters a, b, c, etc.

As per the printed publication, all catalogue entries for works executed after 1831 and before 1866 have been broken down into five-year periods. Those works that have been attributed to Winterhalter (or where indeed his authorship is doubtful) are placed at the end of the last 1866-1873 chapter.

All portraits painted within the same year are listed in alphabetical order by the sitter’s name; unidentified sitters and subject paintings are placed at the end of their respective years. For convenience, portraits of members of the French, Belgian, and British Royal Families, painted within the same year, are mainly grouped together in the order of seniority and irrespective of their varying courtesy titles.

You will find all catalogue entries listed on the BLOG PAGES, the links to which ARE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE HOME PAGE. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and this website, the catalogue is also FULLY SEARCHABLE through the top right-hand-side search box. 

As always, this is still very much a Research-in-Progress, and comments, additional information, images, and research materials are welcome. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged. 

As this is a concise list of works with selected images only, I encourage everyone to contact me through the COMMENTS section for the following information:

  • Catalogue entries / essays on each artwork;
  • Sitters’ Biographies and Lists of Descendants (where known);
  • Provenance of each artwork;
  • Exhibition History;
  • Detailed known bibliography (from 1830s to the present day);
  • Lists of known copies / versions / replicas;
  • Lists of known prints / lithographs / engravings after each artwork.

 Eugene Barilo von Reisberg

Welcome to My World!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my catalogue of works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73) and his brother, Hermann Winterhalter (1808-91).

This blog site temporarily replaces Winterhalter Project pages at my original website, www.bvram.com.

These pages are still very much under construction, so please be patient as I upload available images, double-check and proof-read the information.

As always, comments, additions, suggestions, and additional information are always welcome.

I am pleased to share this life-long obsession with you – ENJOY!

Eugene Barilo von Reisberg

Melbourne, Australia

Saturday, 7 January 2012