Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 4]

January 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Charlotte Belgium 1845 Winterhalter

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 4]

As it has become customary with my blog entries, here is a note regarding the sitter’s descendants:

HRH Marie Charlotte Amélie Auguste Victoire Clémentine Léopoldine, Princess of Belgium (Château de Laeken, near Brussels 7.06.1840-Château de Bouchout, Belgium 19.01.1927), m. 27.07.1857 HI & RH Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Archduke of Austria, Palatine of Hungary, cr. 1864 HIM Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico (Vienna 6.07.1832-excecuted Queretaro, Mexico 19.06.1867)

All historians and biographers agree that Charlotte and Maximilian had no children. To the best of my knowledge, the allegations that Charlotte had an affair with the Belgian General, Baron Alfred Louis Adolphe Graves van der Smissen (1823-1895), and gave birth to Maxime Weygand (1867-1965), the future French General and Military Commander [see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxime_Weygand], are still contested.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

 

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 3]

January 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Charlotte Belgium 1845 Winterhalter

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 3]

As it has become customary with my blog entries, here is an abbreviated ancestry of the sitter, limited to the first three generations:

  1. Marie Charlotte Amélie Auguste Victoire Clémentine Léopoldine, Princess of Belgium (Château de Laeken, near Brussels 7.06.1840-Château de Bouchout, Belgium 19.01.1927)
  2. Leopold Georg Christian Friedrich Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld, cr. 1831 Leopold I, King of the Belgians (1790-1865), m.2nd 1832
  3. Princesse Louise-Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle d’Orléans, Mlle de Chartres (1812-1850)
  4. Franz Friedrich Anton Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (1750- 1806), m.2nd 1777
  5. Auguste Karolina Sophia Gräfin Reuss zu Ebersdorf (1757-1831)
  6. Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, Duc de Valois, Duc de Chartres, Duc d’Orléans, cr. 1830 Louis-Philippe, King of the French (1773- 1850), m.1809
  7. Donna Maria Amelia Teresa di Borbone, Principessa delle Due Sicilie (1782-1866)
  8. Ernst Friedrich Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (1724- 1800), m.1749
  9. Sofie Antonie Herzogin von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1724-1802, aunt to Ivan IV of Russia)
  10. Heinrich XXIV Graf Reuss zu Lobenstein von Ebersdorf (1724-1779), m.1754
  11. Karoline Ernestine Gräfin zu Erbach-Schonberg (1727-1796)
  12. Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc d’Orléans, dit Philippe Egalité (1747-guillotined Paris 6.11.1793), m.1769
  13. Mlle Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre (1753-1821)
  14. Ferdinando I Antonio Pasquale Giovanni Nepomuceno Serafino Gennaro Benedetto di Borbone, King of Two Sicilies (1751-1825), m.1st 1768
  15. Maria Carolina Louise Josepha Johanna Antonia, Archduchess of Austria, Princess Palatine of Hungary (1752-1814, sister of Queen Marie-Antoinette)

 To be continued…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 2]

January 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

Charlotte Belgium 1845 Winterhalter

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 2]

The tragic story of Princess Charlotte of Belgium is only too well known to relate within these pages, but it would suffice to say that she was the only daughter of Leopold I, King of the Belgians, and his second wife, Princess Louise-Marie d’Orléans, the eldest daughter of Louis-Philippe, King of the French. She was a beautiful and intelligent child, especially favoured by her cousin, Queen Victoria of England. After the premature death of her mother in 1850, Charlotte’s education and upbringing was supervised by her grandmother, Marie-Amélie, Queen of the French, now living in exile in England.

Leopold I realised his political and dynastic ambitions by arranging in 1857 Charlotte’s marriage to Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, a brother of the Emperor Franz-Joseph. The same year Maximilian was appointed Viceroy of Lombardy and Venetia, then under the Austrian control, and Charlotte did much social, welfare, and charitable work to alleviate the anti-Austrian sentiment of the local populace.

In 1864 the political and diplomatic manoeuvring of Napoléon III brought Maximilian the crown of Mexico. Charlotte dutifully followed her husband to the New World, where she was instrumental in establishing a proper court, and where once again she endeared herself to the local populace through her philanthropy, charitable works, and frequent visits to the poorer areas of the newly-created Empire.

As the social and political situation in Mexico worsened, Charlotte famously travelled in 1867 to France to demand military and financial assistance from Napoléon III. During the interview with the Emperor, she suffered a nervous and mental breakdown, from which she never recovered. Pronounced clinically insane, Charlotte spent the next sixty years of her life being cared for by her Belgian relatives, and dying in 1927 a few months short of her 87th birthday.

To be continued…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 1]

January 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

Charlotte Belgium 1845 Winterhalter

Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), c.1845-46 (cat no 311b) @ Sotheby’s New York [Part 1]

Sotheby’s New York feature in their forthcoming The Courts of Europe auction on 30 January 2014 Portrait of Princess Charlotte of Belgium by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Studio (lot 143, c. 1845-1846, oil on canvas, 93.0 x 64.0 cm; unsigned; stencilled in black with the names of the artist and the sitter on reverse; stencilled in red with the royal cipher LP and inventory number 6219 on reverse).

The present portrait is a three-quarter length version of Winterhalter’s original portrait of Princess Charlotte, painted in Paris in 1844 (oil on canvas, 140 x 98 cm, see cat. no. 258), presently in the collection of HM Philippe I, King of the Belgians. It was commissioned by Louis-Philippe, King of the French, for the Château d’Eu, the King’s sea-side residence on the coast of Normandy (AMN, P6, 26 April 1845). The artist was paid 1,200 FF for the commission from the King’s Civil List.

In the original portrait, the princess appears at full-length, standing in front of a column, with a billowing red curtain on the right, and a bush with giant white roses with a view to a distant park beyond on the left. The present portrait preserves the original pose of the princess and shows her wearing the distinctive Brabant cape, which also appears in the 1844 composition. However, the landscape and architectural elements are cropped out; and the sand-stone column is replaced by a neutral, sand-coloured background.

The sliding scale of the prices of the royal commissions and the examination of the portrait confirm the workshop participation. It is my opinion that within this particular portrait, the background, the curtains, and garments are by the studio of the artist, while Winterhalter’s hand is unmistakeable in the execution of face, hair, and hands, as well as the highlights and bold contrasts on the garments of the sitter.

The portrait remained by descent in the Orléans family, and thence passed, either by gift or acquisition, to the Hohenzollern(-Sigmaringen) family: the obvious connection between the two dynasties is the sitter’s niece, Princess Josephine of Belgium (1872-1958), who married in 1894 Karl Anton Prinz von Hohenzollern (1868-1919). The portrait remained by descent in the family at Burg Namedy.

The portrait is estimated at US$60,000-$80,000. For further information see http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/the-courts-of-europe-n09107/lot.143.html.

I would like to thank Ms Andrea Kust, of Sotheby’s New York, for bringing this portrait to my attention, and Sotheby’s New York for acknowledging my research assistance in their catalogue entry.

To be continued…

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2014

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