Porträt eines jungen Herren @ Ketterer

February 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Winterhalter 195 Jungen Herren

Porträt eines jungen Herren @ Ketterer

This spirited and lively sketch of a young man with a somewhat surprised and bemused expression on his face, by HERMANN WINTERHALTER, was offered at Ketterer Kunst’s Old Masters & Art of the 19th Century auction, in Munich, 21 Nov 2014, lot 196. Estimated at € 1,000, the drawing was sold for € 1,250 (and went to a very good collection in Germany).

The identity of the sitter remains unknown. The auctioneers dated the drawing from ca. 1870, which means the gentleman in the portrait was most likely a resident of Karlsruhe or Frankfurt-am-Main.

Every time I discover a new work by Hermann Winterhalter, every time I realise more and more what a talented and gifted artist he was in his own right. The drawing has been entered under the provisional no. 195 in Hermann Winterhalter’s catalogue.

© 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 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 Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 2]

[Continued from Part 1]

Winterhalter depicts Prince Edward in a head-and-shoulders format, in half-turn to the right, and facing the viewer. The prince is shown attired very modestly in the portrait, wearing an elaborately tied black silk cravat over a starched white shirt and a simple jacket. However, the simplicity of his garments is very typical of the mid-nineteenth-century style of the upper classes. As I explore in my forthcoming thesis on Winterhalter, following the upheavals of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, scions of royal and aristocratic dynasties broadly adopted sensible, sober, and sombre garments of the middle classes to emphasise their subordination to the services of the country, rather the incident of birth and hereditary privileges.

Prince Edward’s aunt, Queen Adelaide, whose own children died in infancy, lavished all her motherly attention on her nieces and nephews on both sides of the channel. Prince Edward, son of Queen Adelaide’s sister, Ida von Sachsen-Meiningen, Fürstin von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, was among  them. He was born, and spent much of his childhood and youth, in England, becoming a close friend of the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII). In fact, Winterhalter’s original portrait, which is presently in the British Royal Collection, was bequeathed to Edward VII upon the sitter’s death. After becoming a naturalised British citizen in 1841, Prince Edward began to pursue career in the military, and fought valiantly during the Crimean War, during which he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. From 1855, he became ADC to Queen Victoria. Prince Edward retired from active service in 1890 with the rank of Commander-in-Chief.

To be continued … [see part 3].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 1]

January 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Edward von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1849 Winterhalter Copy

Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902) (copy) @ Gorringes [Part 1]

As per the first post about Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857), Gorringes also featured in their slightly earlier auction, in December 2005, a painting, which was described in the catalogue as “Victorian School, Portrait of a Gentleman” (illustrated above).

The painting is, in fact, a replica or a copy of Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s Portrait of Edward Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1823-1902), the original of which, signed and dated 1849, is in the Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, possibly at Buckingham Palace.

Once again, a comment has to be made about the high quality of the portrait at Gorringes’, at least judging from the photograph on their website. While it is also quite possibly, just like in the case of the Portrait of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857), an excellent copy by William Corden, a closer examination, as well as a thorough provenance research, might suggest this work is a replica by the artist.

The same portrait – or at the very least a very similar copy or a version – appeared less than a year later at another British auction house, Lawrences (October 2006, lot 1555). This time, however, the portrait was fully catalogued, correctly identifying both the artist and the sitter.

According to the catalogue entry, the portrait was inscribed with details on reverse; and it was also accompanied with a lithograph of the painting by R.J. Lane, which once again would have made identification much easier.

It only goes to show that it is certainly impossible to know every painting by every artist, and that, at times, auction house specialists are at the mercy of the vendors.

To be continued … [see part 2].

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

[PS]: Neither of the auction houses provided any provenance details, so it is indeed rather difficult to know whether we are talking about the same work or two different portraits, which just happen to pop up on the British art market within a year of each other.

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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