Portrait of the Prince de Wagram and his Daughter Malcy, 1837 (cat. no. 131)

November 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

Winterhalter 131 1837 Prince de Wagram

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)

Portrait of Napoléon-Alexandre Berthier, 2e Prince et Duc de Wagram (1810-1887), with his daughter,

Mlle Malcy Berthier de Wagram, Princesse Murat (1832-1884)

1837, oil on canvas, 186.0 x 138.0 cm, Private Collection

Winterhalter’s portrait of  Napoléon-Alexandre Berthier, 2e Prince et Duc de Wagram, with his daughter, Mlle Malcy Berthier de Wagram, Princesse Murat was exhibited at the 1987/88 Winterhalter exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Petit Palais in Paris. Carol Blackett-Ord wrote in the exhibition catalogue regarding this portrait (p. 179):

“The Prince de Wagram is seated with his daughter, Malcy-Louise-Caroline-Frédérique on a Louis-XIII-style double seat. He wears a black double-breasted frock coat and black trousers with an instep under his shoe. His black silk cravat is held with a pearl pin. The girl wears a white silk and muslin frock, the bodice trimmed with lace, with crimson velvet bows at the sleeves and in her hair. With one leg tucked under her, she lays a trusting hand on her father’s sleeve. A greyhound looks up from the left, a symbol of fidelity and an allusion to family devotion.

“The painting marked a turning point in Winterhalter’s career in France. Hitherto, he had been celebrated for his genre work. At the 1838 Salon, Winterhalter showed three paintings, two of which were portraits… Henceforth, Winterhalter’s professional competence as a portrait artist was recognised. He could treat a life-size subject, and handle realism or affecting charm with equal success…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

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Portrait of Karl Spindler, 1830 (cat. no. 53)

November 8, 2012 § 5 Comments

Winterhalter 053 1830 Karl Spindler

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)

Portrait of Karl Spindler (1796-1855)

1830, oil on canvas, 70 x 58 cm, Private Collection

Winterhalter’s portrait of Karl Spindler was exhibited at the 1987/88 Winterhalter exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Petit Palais in Paris. Susan Foster wrote in the exhibition catalogue regarding this portrait (p. 175):

“This strikingly vigorous portrait of the writer, Karl Spindler, must have been painted when Spindler was resident in Munich between 1827 and 1832, at the same time that Winterhalter had made his base there. The Hussar’s uniform which Spindler wears reinforces his self-consciously artistic pose, giving the sitter a more romantic air which is perhaps borne out by the carefully tousled hair. The sense of movement implicit in the half-length pose with its jutting hand, in which the sitter is silhouetted against the sky, was not to be repeated in Winterhalter’s considerably more formal male portraits executed during his long career. The portrait of Spindler seems to indicate that Winterhalter’s male portraiture could have taken an entirely different direction. When the painting was exhibited at Baden in 1873, the critic of the Karlsruher Zeitung wrote that : “One painting from his earliest days, the portrait of the novelist Spindler, already carries the marks of a great master.” ”

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Architect Karl Josef Berckmüller, 1830 (cat. no. 43)

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Winterhalter 043 1830 Berckmuller

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)

Portrait of Karl Josef Berckmüller (1800-79)

 1830, Munich, oil on canvas; 96 x 72.3 cms;  Musée de Picardie, Amiens

Winterhalter’s portrait of Karl Josef Berckmüller (1800-79) was exhibited at the 1987/88 Winterhalter exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Petit Palais in Paris. Carol Blackett-Ord wrote in the exhibition catalogue regarding this portrait (p. 174):

“The architect is poised, as if explaining a point on the plan before him, with his head turned to the right. The attributes of his profession, a ground plan and a set of callipers, are in front of him, but attention is focused upon a fine study of his hands. The diagonals of the crossed hands are echoed in the sitter’s splayed open collar. An atypical form of signature, with Roman letters and numerals, appear as though carved into the architectural background. There are good grounds for identifying the sitter in the portrait as Winterhalter’s close friend, Karl Josef Berckmüller. He had qualified as an architect the previous year, and had further established himself by marrying the daughter of Baron von Eichthal, Winterhalter’s great benefactor. The picture appears to be the Portrait of a Man, shown at the Public Art Exhibition at Karlsruhe in May 1832 (no. 82). It received qualified praise in Kunstblatt, 11 October 1832 : “The artist has reproduced here, as it were alla prima, the firm features of a handsome male face with great boldness and assurance. The likeness is so vivid that one believes one is seeing the original. With this portrait as in all Mr Winterhalter’s portraits, one must acknowledge his great talent for portraiture; but we cannot fail to comment adversely on the fact that this hasty manner of painting is unworthy of the great talent we have praised.” ”

Philip Mansel added the following biographical note on the sitter (ibid.): “Karl Josef Berckmüller (1800-79) was the son of a prominent builder of Karlsruhe, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Baden. He was, himself, to become a government architect. One of his most important works was the building to house the Grand Ducal Collections on the Friedrichsplatz in Karlsruhe.”

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Book Review: The Second Empire 1852-1870: Art in France under Napoléon III

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Second Empire 1852-1870 Art in France under Napoléon IIISaturday, 7 July 2012

Book Review: The Second Empire 1852-1870: Art in France under Napoléon III

It was a pleasure to revisit the erudite catalogue of The Second Empire 1852-1870: Art in France under Napoléon III (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art; Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts; Paris: Grand Palais, 1978-1979), which I had studied earlier during the nascent stages of my Winterhalter research. It was a ground-breaking exhibition inasmuch as anything that focused on aspects of nineteenth-century art other than David, Ingres, Delacroix, and Impressionism prior to the 1990s was ground-breaking. This volume remains an invaluable source of for any researcher working in the field of Second Empire or nineteenth-century art in general, or indeed Franz Xaver Winterhalter in particular.

For example, excellent overarching essays by Jean-Marie Moulin (‘Art and Society’, 11-16); Kathryn B. Hiesinger and Joseph Rishel (‘Art and Its Critics’, 29-34); Geneviève Lacambre and Donald Rosenthal (‘Painting’, 243-7), provide invaluable contextualisation for the study and appreciation of Winterhalter’s works in particular and portraiture in general during the era.

The inclusion of interior studies by Jean-Baptiste-Fortuné de Fournier and Jean Sorieul provide valuable provenance information about Winterhalter’s portraits. A study of jewellery by Gabriel Lemonnier give a valuable historical information on the Imperial Crowns of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie which can be seen in the portraits by Franz Xaver Winterhalter of 1853 (oil on canvas, destroyed); or the official jewelled insignia of the Imperial ladies-in-waiting, also by Lemonnier, for one can find between the lines an explanation as to why it is not worn by the Empress’s ladies in Winterhalter’s monumental group portrait of 1855 (oil on canvas, Compiègne).

The inclusion in the exhibition of portraits of Napoleon III by Alexandre Cabanel (1865, oil on canvas, Walters Art Gallery) and Hippolyte-Jean Flandrin (c.1860, oil on canvas, Versailles) furnish a valuable comparison of the Emperor’s depiction by Winterhalter; while the examination of Thomas Couture’s unfinished The Baptism of the Prince Imperial (1856-62, oil on canvas, Compiègne) allows for a deeper understanding of the circumstances under which Winterhalter’s portrait of the Empress with the Prince Imperial of 1857 was created (oil on canvas, Private Collection). Another curious inclusion is Paul Baudry’s Portrait of the Son of the Comtesse Swiekowska as the Young Saint John (1860, oil on canvas, Private Collection), inasmuch as, according to my research, the same sitter commissioned portraits of herself and her son from Winterhalter during the 1860s. (Incidentally, Baudry’s portrait was recently sold by Christie’s Paris for €115,000).

494 1854 Eugenie Winterhalter The exhibition included two paintings by Winterhalter, the 1854 portrait of the Empress Eugénie in eighteenth-century dress (oil on canvas, Metropolitan) and the above-mentioned group portrait of the Empress with her ladies-in-waiting. A short biographical article was furnished by Odile Sebastiani, though her three-hundred word entry is rife with inaccuracies. Granted, the exhibition catalogue predates the ground-breaking research on the artist by Dr Armin Panter, Hubert Mayer and the Winterhalter exhibition team, so factual mistakes within such a relatively early publication are almost forgivable.

For example, Sebastiani states “his early life remains a mystery”, “the biographers are not in agreement on the date of his birth”, or that “the chronology of his youth is uncertain” (357). All these inconsistencies were to be righted more than a decade later, in an utmost detail, by Panter and Mayer. Her statement that “portraits of the ducal family of Baden are generally ascribed to the period after his return from Italy” is clearly erroneous and not as readily forgivable, as even the most cursory research would have shown that Winterhalter began his work for the Badenese Grand Ducal family as early as 1828. She further writes that, after leaving France at the time of the 1848 revolution, he did not return until 1853, which is once again highly erroneous, as there is definite evidence that he resumed his portraits practice in Paris late in 1849.

The idea that he was “immediately commissioned to paint the portraits of the Emperor and the Empress” is also erroneous, as there were at least half-a-dozen other artists who were commissioned to paint Napoleon III and Eugénie prior to Winterhalter. But, I fully agree with Sebastiani’s final statement that “today, Winterhalter’s works have acquired the charm of all that conjures up a past period; one cannot deny the extraordinary virtuosity of this artist.”

Odile Sebastiani’s catalogue entry on the 1855 portrait of the Empress with her ladies is quite accurate, and her overarching observation is most apt:  “This work has had a surprising destiny that of being loved at the same time by crowned heads and the masses but rejected by the critics of art” (359). On the other hand, the catalogue entry on the 1854 portrait of the Empress Eugénie in eighteenth-century dress, contributed by Joseph Rishel, suffers from a number of factual mistakes, which I would likewise attribute to the early period of Winterhalter scholarship. Rishel’s statement that “the early history of this charming painting is not known” is erroneous, as the provenance of the portrait is clearly documented; and contrary to his assertion, the portrait was painted prior to the Empress’s appearance in an eighteenth-century dress at a court ball.

Last but not least, the exhibition catalogue has to be commended for the inclusion of the most detailed provenance and bibliographic information with every catalogue entry that would furnish any burgeoning or seasoned researcher with a wealth of primary and early twentieth-century publications on art and its patronage during the Second Empire.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012.

Do you have any comments, suggestions, or additions to the online Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue and these blog entries? Have you heard more news about the works by these artists at auctions and exhibitions? Then do not delay and get in touch!

Works by Hermann Winterhalter at the Salon 1838-1869

March 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

Hermann Winterhalter - Girl Bitten by a Wasp 1847Works by Hermann Winterhalter at the Salon 

While my previous browsing of Salon livrets focused purely on works by and after Franz Xaver Winterhalter, I set aside a bit of time to research the works by (and after) Hermann Winterhalter that were also shown at this premier Parisian exhibition event.

The results were quite surprising, as the first work by Hermann Winterhalter to be shown in Paris appeared at the Salon of 1838. Most Winterhalter scholars hitherto maintained that Hermann Winterhalter joined his brother in Paris in 1840, the event which was allegedly commemorated by a double portrait of the two brothers (1840, oil on canvas, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlruhe; FXW cat no 166); followed shortly by another joint double portrait in watercolours (1841, watercolour, Private Collection; FXW cat no 186).

The Salon livret on the other hand indicates that Hermann Winterhalter exhibited at the Salon two years prior to what was believed to be the date of his first arrival in Paris. The Salon exhibitions admitted works by foreign artists, and the Salon livret indicated if an artist was domiciled abroad. In the case of Hermann Winterhalter, the catalogues of 1838 and 1839 exhibitions clearly state that he lived in Paris, where his address (or at the very least his studio address) is listed as 34 rue de Lille and 15 rue des Petits-Augustins respectively. Most remarkably, these addresses differ from those given for Franz Xaver Winterhalter: this suggests that Hermann lived (and worked?) separately from his brother (although Franz Xaver occupied 15 rue des Petits-Augustins from 1836 to 1837). Separate addresses for both brothers continue being recorded in the Salon livrets until 1869, the last year of Hermann’s exhibition.

Hermann Winterhalter was represented at the Salon annually by single works from 1838 to 1841. He exhibited another work in 1844, Portraits des enfants de Mme la vicomtesse de B… (1798), for which he received 3rd Class Medal; and two more paintings were exhibited in 1847. This was the last appearance of his works for twenty two years, after which Hermann exhibited only once more, in 1869, when he showed two portraits (2426 and 2427). Further research is required to ascertain if any of Hermann Winterhalter’s submissions to the Salon were ever rejected by the jury.

Sadly, apart from Femme importunée par une guêpe, shown at the Salon of 1847 (1633), it is difficult to attribute any other of Hermann’s currently known works as his Salon pieces.

Summary of Hermann Winterhalter’s works at the Paris Salon between 1838 and 1869 (with the numbers of corresponding entries on the Hermann Winterhalter Catalogue page given in square brackets) is as follows: Salon 1838: #1800. Tête de Femme; étude [101a]; Salon 1839: #2131. Tête d’étude [101b]; Salon 1840: #1663. Jeune fille avec des fleurs [101c]; Salon 1841: #2019. Une conversation de jeunes femmes [101d]; Salon 1844:  #1798. Portraits des enfants de Mme la vicomtesse de B… [108a]; Salon 1847: #1633. Femme importunée par une guêpe [112]; #1634. Tête de femme [112a]; Salon 1869 : #2426. Portrait de femme [131a]; #2427. Portrait d’homme [131b].

During this time, his addresses are given as 34 rue de Lille (1838); 15 rue des Petits-Augustins (1839-41); 5 rue Bergère (1844-47); and 11 Boulevard Clichy (1869). Apart from his own works, a lithograph by Alphonse-Léon Noël after Hermann’s painting known only as Les Deux Soeurs was shown at the Salon of 1842 (2119); and an engraving by Auguste-Adrien Jouannin after Betty was shown at the Salon of 1861 (3770).

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2012

Winterhalter Exhibition at Galeries Jacques Selgmann, Paris, 1928

March 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

1865 Essling WinterhalterSaturday, 17 March 2012 

Winterhalter Exhibition at Galeries Jacques Selgmann, Paris, 1928

I recently came across a facsimile copy of a very rare and valuable exhibition catalogue of Winterhalter’s works, which took place at Galeries Jacques Selgimann et Fils in Paris in 1928. The exhibition was ostensibly inspired by the recent sale of Empress Eugénie’s estate in London, which included a number of important portraits by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The exhibition was organised by the Parisian art dealer Jacques Seligmann, who purchased Winterhalter’s portrait of the Empress in the 18th-Century dress from the above-mentioned sale, with the curatorial assistance from Armand Dayot, a French art critic and historian, who also contributed an important introductory essay to the catalogue.

The examination of the catalogue resulted in the following catalogue updates:

–          Armand Dayot mentions a portrait of a Countess von Grafenstein as an outstanding example of Winterhalter’s early paintings of the Munich period. Further information on this portrait is unknown; neither is the exact identity of the sitter, as there were several women of that title during the late 1820s / early 1830s. It is provisionally placed in the catalogue raisonné under cat no 39b.

–          A brief note to the portrait of Mlle Paule Heine-Furtado (see cat no 809a) states that the portrait shows the sitter at the age of 16. This places the portrait around c.1863-64. Nevertheless, purely on stylistic grounds, I believe this to be a later painting, dating from c. 1866-67, which also coincides with Mlle Heine-Furtado’s first marriage to the Duc d’Elchingen, Prince de La Moskowa (see illustration left).

1846 Pourtales Winterhalter

–          The sitter’s name in the cat no 313 has been altered to that of Mlle Marguerite Renouard de Buissière, Comtesse Auguste de Pourtalès (1840-1926) rather than that of her cousin, Mlle Mélanie de Bussière, Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès (1838-1919), as was stated in Winterhalter 1987/88 (see illustration right).

–          The exhibition included a portrait of Anna Thillon, a famous opera singer (see cat no 891). This is the only item in the exhibition catalogue with a note regarding its provenance. According to the catalogue note, it was commissioned by composer Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871); bequeathed by him to composer and theatre director Camille du Locle (1832-1903); and bequeathed by the latter to Opéra Comique, Paris, c. 1871, where it was badly damaged by fire in 1887: “Fort heureusement le visage d’une beauté si tendrement rayonnante, a été miraculeusement épargné ainsi que le frais décolleté où fleurit un petit bouquet délicieusement peint.” It is perhaps a later restoration of the portrait that impedes its full authentication as a Winterhalter original.

Among the most felicitous discoveries was that Hermann Winterhalter was not overlooked! Dayot dedicates at least a full page to Hermann in his introductory essay, and states: “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.”

Neither further details nor present location of these two portraits by Hermann Winterhalter (i.e. those of Eugène Amaury Pineux Duval, dit Amaury Duval (1808-1885) and Mme Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-1896), née Furtado) are presently known; and only the portrait of Mme Furtado-Heine was shown at the exhibition (no 10). The latter was also included in Franz Wild’s posthumous list of Hermann Winterhalter’s works.

Both works have been entered in my preliminary catalogue of Hermann Winterhalter’s works as nos 139 and 16 respectively.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2012

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