Portrait of Katharina Sigl-Vespermann (1802-1877), 1825 @ Kiefer Pforzheim [Part 2]

January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Katharina Sigl_Vespermann 1825 Winterhalter

Portrait of Katharina Sigl-Vespermann (1802-1877), 1825 @ Kiefer Pforzheim [Part 2]

[Continued from Part 1]

Winterhalter’s involvement with lithography began early at the age of 12 or 13, when in 1818 he began his apprenticeship at the lithographic studios in Freiburg-im-Breigau. His lithographic work continued in Munich from 1823, where he also attended the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. A number of Winterhalter’s lithographs from the Munich period feature performers of the Hofoper, or the Royal Bavarian Opera and Ballet Theatre. While further research on this subject is required, given the fact that the artist was still a young student, it is most likely that commissions for the portraits of theatre performers came to him via one of the lithographic publishing houses for which he worked at the time, such as those of Montmorillon, Piloty, or Selb.

It is important to point out that in 1828 Katharina Sigl-Vespermann was also painted by the Bavarian Court portraitist, Karl Joseph Stieler (1781-1858) (oil on canvas, Neue Pinakothek, Munich). This means that Winterhalter’s portrait predates that of Stieler, and was most likely carried out before Winterhalter joined Stieler’s studio, whereupon the artist concentrated on producing numerous portrait lithographs based on the works of his master rather than on his own original drawings.

Katharina Sigl-Vespermann 1828 Stieler

It has to be admitted, albeit reluctantly, that of the two portraits, Stieler’s is arguably better of the two. However, it has to be borne in mind that Stieler’s portrait is a work by a mature artist whose reputation as the elite portrait specialist was established literally before Winterhalter was born. At the same time, it is interesting to observe, that Sigl-Vespermann looks very similar in both portraits. Both artists captured not only the singer’s elaborately fashionable hairstyle, but also her strikingly elongated and angular face, and a long, swan-like neck. It can be argued that the comparison between the two portraits clearly shows that Winterhalter’s mimetic abilities were already in evidence from the very early stages of his career.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

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Portrait of Katharina Sigl-Vespermann (1802-1877), 1825 @ Kiefer Pforzheim [Part 1]

January 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Katharina Sigl_Vespermann 1825 Winterhalter

Portrait of Katharina Sigl-Vespermann (1802-1877), 1825 @ Kiefer Pforzheim [Part 1]

The auction house Kiefer features in their forthcoming Buch- und Kunstauktionen on 15 February 2014, in Pforzheim, Germany, a lithographic Portrait of Katharina Sigl-Vespermann (1802-1877) by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (40 x 29.2 cm, lot 5581, est. €0 – €60).

The lithograph shows the sitter frontally, at half-length, head in semi-profile to the left, her gaze piercing the limits of the picture plane. She wears a fashionable gown most likely of silk, gathered high at the waist, with large diaphanous sleeves, and decorated with silk bows at shoulders. Her hair is parted on one side, styled in fashionably elaborate curls, and adorned with roses.

Katharina Sigl-Verspermann was a renowned Bavarian operatic performer. She came from a family of Bavarian singers and musicians, and made her debut on the Berlin stage at the age of 10. In 1820 she received a permanent engagement with the Munich Court Theatre, where she gave memorable performances as Queen of the Night, Susanne, Elvira, Myrrha, Marzelline (Fidelio), and numerous other roles. She continued touring, appearing on the stages of Vienna, Nurnberg, and Stuttgart. In 1828 she married the baritone Wilhelm Vespermann (1784-1837), widower of another respected opera singer, Clara Metzger (1799-1827). An illness forced Katharina to retire from the stage in 1833, but she continued to participate in selected concerts and performances. She died at the age of 75 in Munich, in 1877.

The importance of this lithograph lies in the fact that it is one of the earliest known lithographic portraits by artist. The portrait bears facsimile signature and date lower right: Winterhalter ft – 1825, suggesting that the artist may also have been responsible for the original portrait drawing on which the lithograph is based (present whereabouts unknown). As the print bears no other names, it is highly possible that the artist was responsible for both the drawing and the production of a lithograph after it.

To be continued … [see part 2].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria (1756-1825), after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858) [Part II]

June 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

025 25 Maximilian

Portrait of Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria (1756-1825), after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858) [Part II]

I often wondered if the simplified portrayal of the King of Bavaria in some of Stieler’s portraits – and subsequently in Winterhalter’s lithograph – is a rather subtle reference by the King and his artists to the fact that Maximilian I Joseph was literally not born in the purple.

As I stated in an earlier biographical sketch, Max I Joseph “was a minor scion of the Wittelsbach dynasty, and initially pursued a distinguished and respectable career in the military. The sudden death of his older brother in 1795 brought him the headship of a collateral ducal branch of the Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld family; and soon afterwards he found himself first in line to succeed the childless Carl-Theodor, Kurfürst of Pfalz and Bavaria (1724-99). Under the watchful eye of his able minister, Maximilian Graf von Montgelas (1759-1838), Maximilian was able to initiate and implement a number of important political, economic, social, educational, religious, and welfare reforms, and steer his country through the turbulent era of Napoleonic wars, preserving the integrity of Bavaria’s territorial gains as well as his royal status of a king, to which he was raised by the French Emperor in 1806.”

Therefore, the emphasis in Wintehalter’s lithographic portrait is not so much on Maximilian I Joseph’s royal status and accident of birth, but on his civic virtues and his role as the premier civil servant of the constitutional monarchy.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013.

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

Franz Xaver Winterhalter – Catalogue Updates

February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

19 friedrich_leopold_graf_zu_stolberg WinterhalterWednesday, 8 February 2012

Franz Xaver Winterhalter – Catalogue Updates

Very few known engravings and lithographs from Winterhalter’s Freiburg-im-Bresgau period have survived. I emphasise the word known as a number of prints on which Winterhalter may have worked or collaborated were published without bearing his name in margin under image as was the custom of the day.

The research indicates that the majority of Winterhalter’s known prints (i.e. the ones bearing his name in margin under image) were executed during his Munich period. Unless a more exact date has been discovered, the dates for Munich period prints can be roughly amended to c. 1823-1830.

Winterhalter’s involvement in print production was varied. He was employed to create charcoal or watercolour copies of paintings as guides or aids for lithographers and / or actual drawings on lithographic stone from which prints were to be made (these are usually marked Gez[eichnet]. von Winterhalter: see nos 25 – 28; or Lith. von Winterhalter: see no 29a). Winterhalter also produced original drawings or watercolours which were later lithographed by the artist himself and / or other printmakers (these are usually marked Winterhalter fecit: for example, see nos 28c, 28f, etc).

24 Titian WinterhalterNos 23 and 24 support an argument that at some point there were in existence original drawings and watercolours by Winterhalter which were either copies after works by other artists, or his own original compositions created expressly to be engraved and / or lithographed. Unfortunately, most of these works have not been located to date, and most of them are only known from lithographs created after them (as indicated in the catalogue entries nos 28b, 28c, 28e, 28f, etc.)

The research indicates that Winterhalter’s lithographic output during the Munich period can be roughly divided into three sections: prints after the Old Masters; prints after contemporary portraits; and prints after contemporary artists. The numerical order of the catalogue list has been amended slightly to group these items accordingly.

25 Eckner WinterhalterRecent research has uncovered further lithographs by Winterhalter after the Old Masters, which form new entries on the list:

–          no 24d – a lithograph after Giovanno Francesco Caroto (1470-1546);

–          no 24e – a lithograph after Adrian Brouwer (c.1605-c.1638)

–          no 24f – a lithograph after David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690)

–          no 24h – a lithograph after after Carlo Maratta (1625-1713)

–          no 24g – a lithograph after [a painting attributed to] Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), though conflicting evidence points that the latter work could also have been done by Hermann Winterhalter.

As Munich was predominantly Winterhalter’s base between 1823 and 1830, it is identified as the most likely place where these works would have been created. Works that are known to have been produced during Winterhalter’s travels in Germany in 1827 (especially in Landshut – see nos 31a and 32b); as well as those drawn or painted in Karlsruhe are marked accordingly.

For more details, see https://franzxaverwinterhalter.wordpress.com/franz-xaver-winterhalter-works-1805-1830/

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2012

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