Portrait of Wanda Fürstin von und zu Putbus (1837-1867) @ Sotheby’s

February 22, 2015 § 3 Comments

658 58 Putbus Copy II

Portrait of Wanda Fürstin von und zu Putbus (1837-1867) @ Sotheby’s

The second portrait consigned to Sotheby’s represents daughter-in-law of Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottum, whose portrait was discussed in the previous post.

It represents Wanda-Marie von Veltheim-Bartensleben, Fürstin v.u.z. Putbus (1837-67) [1858, Paris; oil on canvas, 100 x 81.5 cm, cat. no. 658], who was the eldest of two daughters, and the eldest of the three children, of Georg Albrecht Karl Freiherr von Veltheim-Bartensleben (1812-74) and his first wife, Asta-Luise Gräfin zu Putbus (1812-1850). In July 1857, shortly before her twentieth birthday, she married Wilhelm-Malthus, Graf von Wylich und Lottum (1833-1907), her first cousin, second son of her maternal aunt and future mother-in-law, Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottum (1809-94). The couple had five daughters, the three eldest of whom would inherit their father’s sovereign titles in succession. She was a regular fixture at social entertainments in Berlin, an expert huntress, and a hostess par excellence, entertaining a number of notable guests, including Otto von Bismark, at the family’s castle on the island of Rügen. The Princess died of puerperal fever sixteen days after giving birth to her youngest daughter, Wanda-Augusta, on 18 December 1867, aged 30 years and six months. Her sudden death was deeply lamented by her close friend, Queen Victoria eldest daughter, Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia (later Empress of Germany).

The Princess is shown standing, at three-quarter-length, in half-turn to the left, and facing the viewer. Her hair is parted in the middle, brushed back and arranged in chignon and neck-length curls. She is wearing a black silk or satin travelling dress with white lace collar and a large black and red bow at the front; with black ruches, lace and other details on the sleeves and bodice. A large wrap is thrown around arms; light-brown leather gloves are worn. Her jewellery comprises of gold and jet earrings and a small (watch?) chain at her waist. The princess is shown against a bright red background, presumably the artist’s studio curtain.

The portrait was most likely commissioned to commemorate the sitter’s wedding in 1857 to Wilhelm-Malthus, Fürst v.u.z. Putbus (1833-1907). As Winterhalter was at the height of his career at the time, with the waiting list of up to two years, it is quite possible that the young bride may have waited for more than six months to have her portrait painted. The choice of a travelling / day dress is unusual in Winterhalter’s oeuvre. The large black wrap suggests that the portrait may have been painted either in winter or early spring of 1858 when the Princess was six to seven months pregnant.  The strict and voluminous garments may have been chosen for the portrait to partially disguise her pregnancy.

Incidentally, the Princess was also painted by Richard Lauchert (oil on canvas, signed and dated as painted in 1863, Jagdschloss Granitz). Richard Lauchert was a pupil of F.X. Winterhalter, and also a cousin by marriage to Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia, who commissioned a number of portraits from Lauchert and also recommended him to her mother, Queen Victoria. Wanda was a personal friend of the Crown Princess, and it is quite likely that the latter may have recommended Lauchert for the later portrait commission.

The portrait will be offered at Sotheby’s London, Of Royal and Noble Descent, 24 Feb 2015, lot 174 (est. £25,000-35,000). See http://www.sothebys.com/

I would like to thank Sotheby’s for acknowledging my assistance with cataloguing this work.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2015.

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Portrait of Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottum (1809-1894) @ Sotheby’s

February 21, 2015 § 3 Comments

513a 54 Putbus - Copy

Portrait of Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottum (1809-1894) @ Sotheby’s

Two important portraits have been consigned to Sotheby’s from a private collection.

The first one depicts Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottum (1809-1894 née Gräfin und Herrin von und zu Putbus) [1854, Paris; oil on canvas, 82 x 63 cm; cat no 513a]. She was the eldest of five daughters and second of six children of Wilhelm-Malthus Reichsgraf zu Putbus (1783-1854) by his wife, Luise von Lauterbach (1784-1860). In 1828, at the age of 19, she married Hermann Frederick, Graf von Wylich und Lottum (1796-1847), who was thirteen years her senior. He was a chamberlain at the Prussian court and the minister at Naples for a number of years. The couple had three children, two sons and a daughter, the youngest of whom, Wilhelm-Mathus, inherited his maternal grandfather’s estates and titles as a sovereign prince of Putbus, an extensive appanage within the Pomeranian region of present-day Germany.

The countess is depicted at half-length, against a neutral olive-green background, in half-turn to the left, and facing the viewer. The hair is parted in the middle and arranged on both sides in neck-length curls. She is wearing a black dress with plunging neckline edged with two deep valances of white lace, black silk ruches, and further detailing on the bust and sleeves. A brown fur stole is thrown around her arms.

The black dress of the countess reflects her status as widow (her husband died in 1847), but also as a sign of mourning for her father, Wilhelm Malthus, 1st Fürst v.u.z. Putbus who died in September 1854. The portrait, therefore, was quite likely to have been commissioned to commemorate her succession to her father’s sovereign titles, and would have been painted in the late autumn or early winter of 1854, which also explains the reason why the countess poses wrapped in furs.

The portrait has become the official representation of the sovereign countess, having been lithographed by Gustav Heinrich Gottlob Feckert (1820-1899), and copied at least once.

The portrait will be offered at Sotheby’s London, Of Royal and Noble Descent, 24 Feb 2015, lot 173 (est. £20,000-30,000). See http://www.sothebys.com/

I would like to thank Sotheby’s for acknowledging my assistance with cataloguing this work.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2015.

A Sitter Suggested – Lady in Waiting to Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Altenburg

February 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

744h 62ho Hofdame 1

A Sitter Suggested – Lady in Waiting to Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Altenburg (no. 744h).

The Courtauld Institute of Art has a lovely spirited sketch, enticingly titled Hofdame of the Princess of Altenburg. According to the catalogue records, the drawing appears to be unsigned, but a semi-legible inscription on the reverse reads: Hofdame der Prinzessin … / Moritz … Altenburg.

It is quite easy to establish the identity of Prinzessin … / Moritz … Altenburg. This is most definitely Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Meiningen (1843-1919), who incidentally is believed to have been painted by Winterhalter, together with her parents and brother, around 1849 (present location unknown); and who in 1862 married Moritz Prinz von Sachsen-Altenburg (1829-1907).

The date of the princess’s wedding establishes the approximate date for the sketch, which  would have been drawn some time in or after 1862.

A research of the Sachsen-Alteburg Hofkalendar suggests that the woman in the portrait is most likely to be the Princess’s chief lady-in-waiting, or Oberhofmeisterin, by the name of Fräulein Julie von Stenglin, genn. von Benninghausen. Further research establishes the dates of Julie v. Stenglin as 1812-1892. This would suggest that she would have been in her early 50s when the sketch was drawn. This (arguably) coincides with the age of the lady in the Courtauld drawing.

The Hofkalendar also states that Fräulein Julie v. Stenglin was an ‘Ehrendame des Köngl. Bayerischen Theresien-Ordens’, which is perhaps the insignia clearly visible on the woman’s left breast.

744h 1862 Hofdame detail

The drawing has been provisionally entered in the Catalogue Raisonné under no. 744h.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2015

Sitters Suggested – Bölger and Burckhardt Families

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Anna BurckhardtSitters Suggested – Bölger and Burckhardt Families

Franz Wild mentions in his posthumous list of paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter a portrait of Mme Boelger Burkhardt, painted in or around 1866 (Cat No 811a; Wild 1894, 45; Winterhalter 1987/88, 234, no 350).

An internet research suggests that the sitter in the portrait might be Anna Burckhardt (1837-1923), who married in 1855 August Bölger (1828-1867) (www.stroux.org [sighted 10/08/2014]).

The current research suggests that she is also the only woman who had a combination of these two surnames at the time. She was a Swiss national, and the research suggests that in 1866 and 1867 Winterhalter may have travelled to Southern Germany and perhaps to Switzerland, during which time the sittings for the portrait may have been arranged.

Nothing further is known about the sitter apart from a photograph of her taken some time during the 1860s, in the collection of the Universitätsbibliothek Basel http://www.ub.unibas.ch/ [sighted 10/08/2014].

The present whereabouts of the portrait are unknown. Any further information regarding Anna Burckhardt, Frau August Bölger, and her portrait by Winterhalter, would be most appreciated and gratefully acknowledged in my research.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2014

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 4]

January 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 4]

[Continued from Part 3]

As it has become customary in my blog entries, at this point in time I usually furnish the information about the sitter’s descendants.

The sitter, HSH Wilhelm August Eduard Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Herzog von Sachsen (Bushy Park, London 11.10.1823-London 16.11.1902), married on 27.11.1851, Lady Augusta Catherine Gordon-Lennox (Goodwood House, Sussex 14.01.1827-London 3.04.1904).

His wife, daughter of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1790-1860), and Lady Caroline Paget (1796-1874, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey), was not considered of equal birth under the German law. The marriage was deemed to have been morganatic, and the bride received a courtesy title of Gräfin von Dornburg from her future father-in-law. However, in Britain, at least since 1886, both husband and wife were consistently referred to as Their Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

The couple had no children.

Augusta Gordon-Lennox Dornburg 1856

It is worthwhile pointing out that Lawrences featured in the same auction in October 2006, a portrait of Lady Augusta Catherine Gordon-Lennox, Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (lot 1556).

A comparison with the sitter’s photographs which were taken around this time irrefutably proves the identity of the sitter. While this is a beautifully executed portrait, which also bears all the quintessential hallmarks of the mid-nineteenth-century portraiture (the portrait is allegedly dated as having been painted in 1856), unfortunately, it is impossible to attribute it to Winterhalter. Not only it differs stylistically from Winterhalter’s oeuvre, it is signed by another artist. Albeit the signature is illegible, according to the catalogue, the unknown artist’s initials T and H can be clearly made out.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Duchess of Gloucester 1850 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

[Continued from Part 1]

The sitter was the fourth daughter and eleventh child of King George III and Queen Charlotte of Great Britain. She was considered to be the most beautiful of the six daughters, but similarly to her sisters, Mary’s prospects of connubial bliss were overshadowed by the illness of her father, domineering spirit of her mother, historical events, and the political instability in Europe. Eventually, in 1816, she married her cousin William, Duke of Gloucester. Although the marriage would have been vetoed by her father who disapproved marriages between cousins in general, and of the Gloucester family in particular, the union took place during George III’s illness and was only made possible with the mediation of the Prince Regent.

The Duchess of Gloucester commissioned Winterhalter to paint her portrait as a birthday present to her niece, Queen Victoria, with whom she was very close. When the Duchess died in 1857, at the age of 81, having outlived all her brothers and sisters, Queen Victoria wrote: “With her is gone the last link, which connected us with a bygone generation. She was an authority on everything, a bright example of loyalty, devotion and duty, the kindest and best of mistresses, and friends. She had become like a grandmother to us all, from her age, and from her being the last of the family.”

To be continued … [see part 3].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857) (copy) @ Gorringes (cat no 389) [Part 1]

January 20, 2014 § 1 Comment

Duchess of Gloucester 1850 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 1]

Replicas and copies of Winterhalter’s works are becoming increasingly valuable on the art market. However, they can still slip by unnoticed and undetected with a relative ease at art auctions.

For example, the auction house Gorringes, of Lewes, East Sussex, featured in one of their auctions in April 2006 a painting which they described as “Victorian School, Portrait of an Old Lady” (illustrated above).

The painting is, in fact, an exceptionally fine copy of Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857), the original of which, signed and dated as painted in 1850, is in the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, possibly at Buckingham Palace.

The portrait shows Queen Victoria’s seventy-four year old aunt at head-and-shoulders, in half-turn to the left, turning her head towards the viewer. Her hair is parted in the middle and plaited around the ears in an early Victorian style. It is covered by a blue and white lace headdress, which is fastened under her chin, and descends onto her shoulders. The Duchess is wearing a dark-brown day dress, possibly of satin or silk, with ruches and embroideries, and with a white collar edged with lace. Her decorations comprise of a single golden brooch just visible under the lace; and a heavy pendant, possibly a large miniature or a watch, suspended from a heavy gold chain.

The portrait clearly shows Winterhalter’s versatility in depicting sitters of all ages. The artist has been frequently accused of beautifying and idealising his sitters, but as this portrait shows, he does not shy away from the veristic though sympathetic depiction of the venerable old age.

I have only seen a photograph of the work at Gorringes online, and not in high resolution. It is most likely a copy by William Corden, a professionally trained painter of extraordinary talent, who, together with his son William was employed by Queen Victoria almost exclusively as a copyist. However, the exceptionally high quality of the portrait, that comes forth even through this low resolution, makes me wonder whether this could be indeed Winterhalter’s own replica.

To be continued … [see part 2].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

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