Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 4]

January 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Avrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 Winterhalter

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 4]

As it has become customary with my blog entries, here is an abbreviated list of the sitter’s descendants, limited to the first three generations:

Eve Aurora Charlotta Stjernvall (Bjornesborg 7.08.1808-Helsinki 13.05.1902), m.1st 1836 Pavel Nikolaevich Demidov (1798-1840); m.2nd 1846 Andrei Nikolaevich Karamzin (1814-ka Crimea 1854)

1.  Pavel Pavlovich Demidov, 2nd Prince di San Donato (1839-1885); m.1st 1867 Princess Maria Elimovna Meshcherskaia (1844-1868); m.2nd St.Petersburg 1871 Princess Elena Petrovna Troubetzkaia (1853-1917)

1.1.  Elim Pavlovich Demidov, 3rd Prince di San Donato (1868-1943): m.1893 Countess Sofia Illarionovna Worontzova-Dachkova (1870-1953)

1.2. Nikita Pavlovich Demidov, Prince di San Donato (1872-1874)

1.3. Aurora Pavlovna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1873-1904), m.1st 1892 (div.1896) HRH Prince Arsen of Yugoslavia (1859-1938); m.2nd 1897 Conte Palatin Nicola Giovanni Maria di Noghera (1875-1944)

1.3.1. HRH Paul, Prince of Yougoslavia (1893-1976), m.1923 HRH Olga, Princess of Greece & Denmark (1903-1997), having had issue, two sons and one daughter (descendants: Yugoslavia, Gaubert, Oxenberg, and Balfour families)

1.3.2. Helene Aurore di Noghera, Contessa Palatine di Noghera (1898-1967), m. Gaston Joseph Tissot (1891-1945), havin had issue, 1 son (descendants: Tissot Demidoff family)

1.4. Anatole Pavlovitch Demidov, 4th Principe di San Donato (1874-1943), m. 1894 Mlle Eugénie Podmener (1871-1958)

1.4.1.  Helena Anatolievna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1901-1970), m.1926 Paul René Geoffroy (1903-1991) – s.p.

1.4.2. Eugénie Anatolievna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1902-1955), m.1927 Jean Gerber (1905-1981), having had issue, one son (descendants: Gerber and Merrazzini families)

1.4.3. Aurora Anatolievna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1909-1944), m.1933 Jean Giraud (1912-1962), having had issue, one daughter (descendants: Pouliot and Filion families)

1.5. Marie Pavlovna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1877-1955), m.1897 Prince Semion Semeonovich Abamelek-Lazarev (1857-1916) – s.p.

1.6. Pavel Pavlovich Demidov, Prince di San Donato (1879-1909)

1.7. Elena Pavlovna Demidova, Princess di San Donato (1884-1959), m.1st 1903 (div.1907) Count Alexander Pavlovitch Shuvalov (1881-1935); m.2nd 1907 (div.1926) Nikolai Alexeievitch Pavlov (1866-1931)

1.7.1. Count Pavel Alexandrovich Shuvalov (1903-1960); m.1933 Anna Ivanovna Raevskaya (1903-1991), having had issue, one son (descendants: Shuvalov family)

1.7.2. Countess Elena Alexandrovna Shuvalova (1904-1992); m.1924 (div 1930) Prince Peter Alexandrovich Lieven (1887-1943); m.2nd Wilfred Noel Stubbs (1911-?), having had issue, one son (descendants: Stubbs family)

Sources: http://www.angelfire.com/realm/gotha/gotha/demidov.html [15/05/2012]; http://www.geneall.net [20/05/2012]; http://thepeerage.com [20/05/2012]; http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famille_Demidoff [2/01/2014]; http://genroy.free.fr/demidoff.html [4/01/2014].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 3]

January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

Avrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 Winterhalter

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 3]

As it has become customary with my blog entries, here is an abbreviated ancestry of the sitter, limited to the first three generations:

  1. Eve Aurora Charlotta Stjernvall (Bjornesborg 7.08.1808-Helsinki 13.05.1902)
  2. Carl Johann Stjernvall (1764-1815), m.1799
  3. Eva Gustava von Willebrand (1784-1844)
  4. Erik Johan Stjernvall (1724-1777), m.
  5. Catharina Elisabet Nonneman (1744-1791)
  6. Ernst Gustav von Willebrand (1751-1809), m.1778
  7. Vendla Gustava von Wright (1755-1820)
  8. Erik Wallwik Stjernvall (1685-1754), m.
  9. Brita Hirvo (1695-1754)
  10. Carl Frederick Nonneman (?-?), m.
  11. Gertrud Katharina Hoetz (?-?)
  12. Ernst Gustav von Willebrand (1726-1784), m.
  13. Sofia Catarina Jägehorn af Spurila (1727-1791)
  14. Georg Henrik von Wright (1723-1797), m.1750
  15. Vendela Regina Borgström (1726-1776)

 

Sources: http://gw.geneanet.org [4/01/13]; http://www.geneall.net [4/01/13]

To be continued…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 2]

January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Avrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 Winterhalter

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842) [Part 2]

For those who understand Russian, there’s a delightful lecture about Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina by Mikhail Kostolomov on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMezq1KjbRM; and an in-depth article about her at http://www.vbrg.ru/articles/istorija_vyborga/istoricheskie_lichnosti_nashego_goroda/avrora_karamzina/.

Avrora Karlovna Stjernvall, a daughter of a Finnish governor, frequently travelled to St Petersburg, where her beauty and intelligence caused sensation. Most prominent Russian poets, such as Pushkin and Lermontov, dedicated verses to her, and the Emperor Nikolai I appointed her as a lady-in-waiting to his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. In 1836 she married the fabulously wealthy Pavel Nikolaevich Demidov, the owner of extensive mines and factories in the resource-rich Ural region of Russia. However, too much of a good life impacted his health, and Demidov died only four years after their marriage. The fortune smiled again on Avrova, when she fell in love and married in 1846 Andrei Nikolaevich Karamzin. However, their happiness was also short lived, as in 1854 Karamzin was killed in the Crimean War.

Avrova Karlovna never remarried, but concentrated on the upbringing of her only son, Pavel Pavlovich Demidov, and took an active part in the management of the family fortunes and business affairs. While her family palace in St Petersburg, with its rounds of balls and dinners, became a prestigious rendezvous place for the social and artistic elite of the Russian Empire, Avrova Karlovna also used her immense fortune to help innumerable charities, and endow various welfare, health, and educational institutions in Russia as well as in her native Finland. She was fated to outlive her only son as well as his first wife, and one of her grandchildren, dying in 1902 a few months short of her 94th birthday.

In spite of the wealth and stature of the sitter, her portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter appears rather understated. However, it fits among other portraits by Winterhalter of the era. In the middle of the 1860s, the years of hard work and constant travel around Europe and across the Channel (and think of the travel conditions in those days!) took their toll on Winterhalter’s health; and in 1865 he became seriously ill. Henceforth he undertook extended trips to health spas and holiday resorts, and painted significantly less. With a few notable exceptions, large-scale, full- and three-quarter-length portraits became rare in his oeuvre, and the artist concentrated more and more on smaller, more intimate half-length and head-and-shoulder portraits.

Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina is shown accordingly in a head-and-shoulders format, appearing close to the viewer within the intimate setting of the vignette-like oval portrait. Her hair is parted in the middle and gathered low at the nape to emphasise the fashionably correct oval of her face. The jewellery is minimal, and limited to earrings and a single string of pearls. While Avrora Karlovna is shown décolleté, a lace head-dress modestly descends covering her shoulders. As I have seen neither the original portrait nor the colour photograph of it, I can only presume that it is carried out in a sombre palette, comparable to Winterhalter’s portraits of Mme Mélanie Goldschmidt (1834-1894) (Louvre) and Countess Genowefa Puslowska (1821-1867) (Collegium Maius), both of which were also painted in 1868. Such encapsulation of Avrora Karlovna also fits within the preferred depiction of widows and ‘women of a certain age’ during the second half of the nineteenth century.

To be continued…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842)

January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Avrorva Stjernvall Demidova 1868 Winterhalter

Notes to Portrait of Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall, 1868 (no 842).

Dear Friends,

In June 2012, I published a post correcting the identity of the sitter in a portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter from Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (1820-1904) to Avrora Karlovna Demidova-Karamzina (1808-1902), née Stjernvall. For more details, please see https://franzxaverwinterhalter.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/franz-xaver-winterhalter-and-the-demidov-portrait/ .

I was thrilled to receive two emails, virtually on the New Year’s Eve, one from Alexandre Tissot Demidoff, and another from Tryggve Gestrin, of Esbo Stadsmuseum, Finland, confirming my re-identification.

Furthermore, they have informed me that in 2006, the Esbo Stadsmuseum hosted an exhibition dedicated to the sitter. The sitter’s descendants collaborated with the museum curators on the exhibition, and in the process shared rare and precious documents from the family archives.

One of the documents included an illustrated inventory from a residence of the sitter’s descendants… which included this portrait, thus irrefutably confirming the identity of the sitter.

I am most grateful to Alexandre Tissot Demidoff and Tryggve Gestrin for their assistance in my research!

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

PS: Does anyone have a colour image of this portrait?

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.

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