‘Portrait of Clémentine de Boubers, Baronne Renouard de Bussierre’ (1854) by Hermann Winterhalter @ Sotheby’s Paris

017b Boubers Bussiere

Portrait of Clémentine de Boubers, Baronne Renouard de Bussierre (1854), by Hermann Winterhalter, @ Sotheby’s Paris

The aformentioned auction featured a portrait of Mélanie de Pourtalès’s sister-in-law, Clémentine de Boubers, Baronne Paul Renouard de Bussierre (1829-1861), by the hand of Hermann Winterhalter.

The baroness is painted at the age of 25, at just over half-length, posed frontally, with her face in semi-profile to the right. She is wearing an evening gown of white satin over a lace-edged under-blouse, with white silk bows at the sleeves and the waist. Apart from the corsage of pink roses and a golden wedding band at the base of the ring finger, the baroness wears no other jewellery or visible decorations.

The provenance of the portrait is unclear. The portraits of the sitter, her husband, and her sister are framed identically, suggesting that they were at one stage in the same collection. As Clémentine and her husband had no children, it is likely that their portraits may have passed to her sister-in-law, Mélanie de Pourtalès, and thence, by family descent, to Christian, Comte de Pourtalès, at Château de Martinsvart, from whose collection it was offered at Collection Schickler-Pourtalès: Art et Pouvoir au XIXe siècle, by Sotheby’s Paris, on 16 May 2019.

Clémentine’s white dress may suggest that the portrait references her marriage two years’ prior. The three states of the roses—wilting, blooming, and budding—are quite unusual in the context of a formal portrait, and may indicate Hermann Winterhalter’s own allegoric and moralising touch. The lack of jewellery broadly corresponds with the prevalent depictions of French aristocracy in the middle of the nineteenth century, and especially during—or shortly after—the Second Republic. It also may indicate the sitter’s personal piety and the lack of ostentatious tastes, reflective of her Protestant faith.

Offered with the estimate of € 30,000-40,000, the portrait appears to have found no buyers. Although Hermann Winterhalter may have been as talented as his celebrated older brother, his art market performance remains relatively modest.

© Dr Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 16 July 2019

Winterhalter’s ‘Portrait of a Lady (believed to be Louise Freiin von Freystedt, Comtesse Olympe Aguado (1834-98)’ @ Roseberys of London

58zw-a Woman Aguado PLHH5861-01

Another fascinating portrait that recently graced the walls of an auction house represents an unknown lady, in an elaborate, low-cut, evening dress of white tulle and satin, richly decorated with lace, and with a lace shawl thrown over the crinoline skirt. She is most sumptuously bejewelled with earrings; a two-strand pearl necklace; a gem-set star-shaped brooch; bracelets on both arms, including a gold bangle with emerald and pearls; and gem-set rings on her fingers. Most notably, she is holding a lorgnette with an elaborately decorated, gem-set handle.

The portrait is signed, but not dated. Stylistically, it fits among the artist’s portraits from the late 1850s to the early 1860s. Such dating corresponds with the hairstyle á l’Impératrice and the elaborate crinoline skirt.

The identity of the sitter remains a mystery.

The label on the reverse of the painting suggests that the portrait represents a member of the Aguado family. The lady in the portrait looks to be in her early to mid-twenties. The only member of the Aguado family who fits the age of the sitter is Berthe Freiin von Freystedt (1834-98), who, in 1860, married Count Olympe Aguado (painted by Winterhalter in 1852).

A photo of Comtesse Olympe Aguado in the archives of Musée d’Orsay bears similarity with the lady in this portrait, especially in the outline of the brow, the nose, and the jawline. Other photos show her with a similar hairstyle; and one of the photos also shows her wearing glasses.

Further research is required to confirm convincingly the identity of the sitter and the history of the ownership of the portrait.

Estimated at £30,000 – £50,000, the portrait was sold for a comparatively modest sum of £28,000.

The portrait is given a provisional number 635 in the current version of my catalogue raisonné.

© Dr Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 3 July 2019

Updates to the Online Catalogue Raisonne of the Winterhalter Brothers’ Works

60sh-a Count_Paul_Andreievich_Shouvaloff

Dear Friends,

As those of you who had time and patience to download my doctoral thesis on Winterhalter – ‘Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873): Portraiture in the Age of Social Change’ – https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/127963 – had noticed, it comes with a huge addendum of all works by Winterhalter known to me.

I am looking to publish my thesis (any recommendations and leads are welcome) – but, in the meanwhile, I will continue updating my online catalogue raisonne of the Winterhalter Brothers’ works.

Your assistance with the present version has been INVALUABLE and I cannot thank enough all those individuals and institutions who continue communicating with me and providing me, most generously and selflessly, with invaluable updates and… corrections!

In the coming weeks and months, I would share with you some of the more important updates as well as information on some of the works that have recently appeared on the art market.

I look forward to hearing from each and everyone of you – let’s keep the conversation about Winterhalter going!

#winterhalter #franzxaverwinterhalter #thesis #publication #dissertation #artcatalogues #artbooks #artmarket #artauctions #artsales

The Doctoral Thesis on Winterhalter is Done – Now, it’s back to the Online Catalogue Raisonné


Dear Friends,

Apologies for my prolonged silence—all my energies have been focused on the completion of my doctoral dissertation on Franz Xaver Winterhalter, titled, accordingly, ‘Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873): Portraiture in the Age of Social Change’.

As the title suggests, my thesis focused on Winterhalter’s portraits and examined how it reflected social change which was taking place in the course of ‘the long Nineteenth Century’.

I am thrilled that Richard Ormond, the author and co-curator of the ground-breaking Winterhalter exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and Petit Palais all way back in 1987-1988, was one of my examiners, and provided me with a most encouraging and supportive feedback.

While I was completing the thesis, I was also asked to contribute to another retrospective exhibition of Winterhalter’s works, which toured the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX); Augustinermuseum, Freiburg-im-Breisgau; and Musée National du Château, Compiègne between 2015 and 2017, and I am eternally grateful to Dr Helga Kessler Aurisch for involving me in the project and inviting me to contribute an essay to the exhibition catalogue.

My thesis is now available online – https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/127963

It is a LONG read – but if you have a chance and patience, would love to receive your feedback and continue the conversation about meaning and significance of Winterhalter’s beautiful works!

#winterhalter #franzxaverwinterhalter #thesis #dissertation #richardormond #helgaaurisch #npg #london #petitpalais #houston #freiburg #compiegne

Catalogue of Works by Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded!

Hermann Winterhalter - Girl Bitten by a Wasp 1847Sunday, 8 January 2012

Catalogue of Works by Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded!

In what is probably the world’s first, a full listing and selected images of known and recorded works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s brother, Hermann Winterhalter (1808-1891) has been uploaded – click here for the web link.

This is undoubtedly the first most comprehensive listing since Franz Wild posthumous pamphlet, which referenced roughly 100 works by Hermann Winterhalter. All of these works are listed on the webpage, but only a few are known today. The list is supplemented by another forty or so works, the existence of which is known (or has been recorded), but which do not appear on Wild’s list. I was able to find illustrations for less than a third of the catalogue entries.

Hermann Winterhalter - Portrait of Betsy Morin 1850Hermann Winterhalter emerges as a professional, academically trained, and truly gifted portrait painter in his own right. He followed Franz Xaver to Freiburg, Munich, Paris, London, and Frankfurt-am-Main. Although he was arguably overshadowed by his brother’s fame and celebrity status, he appears to have established a buoyant portrait practice of his own, being especially active between the late 1840s and the early 1860s. In addition to this, and unlike his brother, he was able to specialise – and capitalise – on the creation of charming genre scenes and popular têtes de fantaisie, which attracted positive exhibition reviews and collectors’ following. Some these works were also popularised through prints alongside those of his celebrated brother.

Apart from pursuing confidently his own painting practice, Hermann’s presence in Paris was invaluable to Franz Xaver. He effectively took over the management of his brother’s studio, frequently picked up the overflow of portrait commissions, and organised the production of copies after his brother’s portraits. Most importantly, Hermann was also responsible for production of accurate and detailed watercolour copies of Franz Xaver’s paintings, which were used as aides for engravers and lithographers in production of prints after these works.

Hermann Winterhalter - Little Darling, c. 1850sAt the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, both brothers left for Germany. After Franz Xaver’s sudden death in 1873, Hermann effectively took over the management of his brother’s multi-million dollar estate, which included artworks and archival materials (a large proportion of which were damaged during the Second World War).

This catalogue is therefore a nascent attempt to provide a firm and authoritative distinction between the works of the two brothers, so that the works by Hermann Winterhalter are no longer mistaken for those of his celebrated brother (and vice versa), and his deserved reputation as a professional and gifted painter in his own right would continue to strengthen among today’s scholars, collectors, and curators.

As always, this is still very much a Research-in-Progress, and comments, additional information, images, and research materials are welcome through the COMMENTS section or by email to vonreisberg[at]gmail[dot]com. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged.


Images of works by F.X. Winterhalter Uploaded!

Sunday, 8 January 2012 

Images of works by F.X. Winterhalter Uploaded!

Phew!!! It only took me a day and a half to re-format and upload in excess of 600 (!!!) images, but this is finally done!!!

Empress Eugenie by F.X. WinterhalterSimilarly to the catalogue entries, these images have been amassed gradually over a period of more than twenty years. Some have been copied from printed books and periodicals that date from the 1820s to the present; a large number have appeared online; and some were emailed to me directly by directors and curators of public and private museums, galleries, and collections; art specialist of numerous auction houses; owners of the actual artworks; descendants of Winterhalter’s sitters; as well as numerous private individuals, academics, and researchers from around the world – and to them my gratitude is endless.

Given the sheer number of images on this blog site, and out of respect and privacy as per individual requests, images are reproduced uniformly as low-res thumbnails.

As you can see, the catalogue is far from being fully illustrated, so additional images are welcome, and your contributions will be gratefully acknowledged!