Auction Results: Winterhalter Portraits @ Sotheby’s

February 25, 2015 § 4 Comments

513a 54 Putbus - Copy   658 58 Putbus Copy II

To follow up my two earlier posts, both portraits by Franz Xaver Winterhalter were sold at Sotheby’s London on 24 February 2015. Lot 173, Portrait of Clothilde Gräfin von Wylich und Lottumsold for £ 32,500 / € 44,255 / AUD 64,652. The portrait of her daughter-in-law, Wanda Fürstin von und zu Putbus (Lot 174), sold for £ 31,250 / € 42,553 / AUD 62,165.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2015

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.

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

A Slight Case of Bartering

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Rubens LadyA Slight Case of Bartering

Wilhelm von Bode’s memoirs offer another proof to the existence of the portraits of Barthold Suermondt and Nancy Haniel Suermondt (as mentioned in the previous post). Von Bode mentions that instead of receiving a full payment for their portraits, Winterhalter agreed to accept “zwei treffliche Frauenbildnisse von Rubens und Bordone” instead [Bode 1997, 305-6].

This off-the-cuff remark reveals that Winterhalter was not averse to bartering for his services, and also demonstrates how highly Winterhalter’s portraits were valued at the time, as the swap for two Old Master paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Paris Bordone seemed like a fair deal to such a seasoned art collector as Barthold Suermondt.

Von Bode goes on to say that Friedrich, Crown Prince of Prussia, saw the two Old Master portraits in Winterhalter’s studio in Baden (presumably in Karlsruhe), and immediately decided that these should be added to the collection of artworks he was gathering for his museum in Berlin (today the Bode Museum). This may have taken place around 1867 when the Crown Prince and his wife, Crown Princess Victoria, commissioned a pair of portraits from Winterhalter and presumably visited his studio in the process.

The artist promised that the Crown Prince could have the two Old Master portraits after his death. However, when Winterhalter died in 1873, it was discovered that the two paintings were bequeathed to his brother, Hermann Winterhalter. They were still in Hermann’s collection at the time of his death in 1891.

Under the terms of Franz Xaver and Hermann Winterhalter’s will, the Rubens and Bordone paintings were offered to Victoria, Dowager Empress of Germany, at 50.000 marks. To the best of my knowledge, the Rubens portrait is today in the collection of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin; while the Bordone portrait remained by descent in the Empress’s family, and is today at the Schloß Fasanerie, Fulda.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2014

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

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

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