Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Self Portrait
The Artist with his Brother, Hermann
Oil on canvas, 1840, Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Born in a small village in Germany's Black Forest, Franz Xaver Winterhalter left his home to study painting at the academy of Monaco. Before becoming court painter to Louis-Philippe, the king of France, he joined a circle of French artists in Rome. In 1835, after he painted the German Grand Duke and Duchess of Badew, Winterhalter's international career as a court portrait painter was launched. Although he never received high praise for his work in his native Germany, the royal families of England, France, and Belgium all commissioned him to paint portraits. His monumental canvases established a substantial popular reputation, and lithographic copies of the portraits helped to spread his fame.
Winterhalter's portraits were prized for their subtle intimacy, but his popularity among patrons came from his ability to create the image his sitters wished or needed to project to their subjects. He was able to capture the moral and political climate of each court, adapting his style to each client until it seemed as if his paintings acted as press releases, issued by a master of public relations.
(© J. Paul Getty Trust)

King Louis Philippe I of France
Oil on canvas, 1839, Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Leopold I of Belgium, 1840
First King of the Belgians
Wikimedia Commons

King Leopold I of Belgium
Wikimedia Commons

Louis-Philippe, 1941
King of the French from 1830 to 1848
(July Monarchy)
Wikimedia Commons

Queen Marie Amelie of France, 1842
Oil on canvas
Wikimedia Commons

Emperor Napoleon III of France, 1852

Emperor Napoleon III & Empress Eugenie

Franz Xavier Winterhalter was appointed court painter of Louis-Philippe, the king of the French, who commissioned him to paint individual portraits of his large family. Winterhalter would execute more than thirty commissions for him. This success earned the painter the reputation of a specialist in dynastic and aristocratic portraiture, skilled in combining likeness with flattery and enlivening official pomp with modern fashion.
However, Winterhalter’s reputation in artistic circles suffered. The critics, who had praised his debut in the salon of 1836, dismissed him as a painter that could not be taken seriously. This attitude persisted throughout Winterhalter's career, condemning his work to a category of his own in the hierarchy of painting. Winterhalter himself regarded his first royal commissions as a temporary intermission before returning to subject painting and the field of academic respectability, but he was a victim of his own success and for the rest of his life he would work almost exclusively as a portrait painter. This was a field in which he was not only very successful but also made him rich. Winterhalter became an international celebrity enjoying Royal patronage.
Among his many regal sitters was also Queen Victoria. Winterhalter first visited England in 1842, and returned several times to paint Victoria, Prince Albert and their growing family, painting at least 120 works for them, a large number of which remain in the Royal Collection, on display to the public at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences. Winterhalter also painted a few portraits of the aristocracy in England, mostly members of court circles. The fall of Louis-Philippe in 1848 did not affect the painter's reputation. Winterhalter went to Switzerland and worked in Belgium and England.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Prince Albert
Oil on canvas, 1842, Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Prince Albert and Queen Victoria
and Family of King Louis Philippe
The Chateau D'Eu, 1845,
Oil on canvas, Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Prince Albert
Oil on canvas, 1846, Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Family of Queen Victoria, 1846
Oil on canvas, 250,5 x 317,3 cm
Royal Collection, United Kingdom
Wikimedia Commons

Persistence saw Winterhalter survive from the fall of one dynasty to the rise of another. Paris remained his home until a couple of years before his death. A halt in portrait commissions in France allowed him to return to subject painting with Florinda, 1852 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), a joyous celebration of female beauty inspired by a Spanish legend. In the same year his marriage proposal was rejected, and Winterhalter remained a bachelor committed to his work.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Queen Isabella II of Spain, 1852

Isabella II of Spain in exile

After the accession of Napoleon III, his popularity grew. From then on, under the Second Empire, Winterhalter became the chief portraitist of the imperial family and court of France. The beautiful French Empress Eugénie became a favorite sitter and she treated him generously. In 1855 Winterhalter painted his masterpiece: The Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting (below). He set the French Empress in a pastoral setting gathering flowers in a harmonious circle with her ladies in waiting. The painting was acclaimed, and exhibited in the universal exposition in 1855. It remains Winterhalter's most famous work. Taking its inspiration from 18th-century bucolic scenes, this monumental composition sets the sovereign and her entourage against the backdrop of a shady clearing in a forest. However, the composition is very artificial and formal. The empress, slightly to the left of center, is encircled by and dominates the group
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Empress Eugenie
Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting, 1855
Original uploader Sstjean at en.wikipedia

Eugenie a la Marie-Antoinette
Empress of the French
Oil on canvas, 1854
Private collection

The Empress Eugenie Holding Louis Napoleon
The Prince Imperial on her Knees
Oil on canvas, 1857
Private collection

Empress Eugenie
All Images from LiveInternet

Maria Eugénia Ignacia Augustina Palafox de Guzmán Portocarrero y Kirkpatrick,(above), 9th Countess de Teba aka Eugénia de Montijo (May 5, 1826 - July 1920) was Empress of France (1853-1871). The future and last Empress of France was born in Granada, Spain to Don Cipriano Palafox de Guzmán y Portocarrero, Count de Teba, Count de Montijo, and his half-Scottish, half-Spanish wife, Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, a daughter of the Scots-born William Kirkpatrick, a naturalized American citizen who became U. S. Consul to Malaga and later operated a wine bar. Her sister, Maria Francisca de Sales, aka Paca, inherited the Montijo title as well as other subsidiary family titles, married the duke of Alba, and died in 1860. According to some sources, Don Cipriano was not the father of his daughters, and rumor had it that Eugenia's father was actually a British diplomat, George William Frederick Villiers (1800-1870), later 4th Earl of Clarendon, who gained fame as British Foreign Secretary.
The Countess de Teba, as Eugénia/Eugénie was known before her marriage, wed Emperor Napoleon III on January 30, 1853, not long after he had been rebuffed in his eager attempts to marry Queen Victoria's teenage niece Princess Adelaide von Hohenlohe-Langenburg. The Teba/Bonaparte union was not a match looked upon with complete delight. According to an article in The Times, "We learn with some amusement that this romantic event in the annals of the French Empire has called forth the strongest opposition, and provoked the utmost irritation. The Imperial family, the Council of Ministers, and even the lower coteries of the palace or its purlieus, all affect to regard this marriage as an amazing humiliation ...." Apparently, a 26-year-old Spanish countess was not considered nearly good enough for a Bonaparte (in any case, evidence suggests that the emperor was probably not even a blood Bonaparte, but the result of one of his mother's extramarital affairs).
As she was educated and very intelligent, Eugénie's husband usually consulted her on important questions, and she acted as Regent during his absences. When the Second Empire was overthrown after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), the empress and her husband took refuge in England, where she continued to live after his death in 1873.
The former empress died in July 1920 at the age of 94, during a visit to her native Spain, and she is interred in the Imperial Crypt at Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, England, with her husband and her son, the Prince Imperial, who died in 1879 in Africa during battle with Zulu warriors.
Her deposed family's association with England was commemorated when the second daughter of the present Duke of York was named Princess Eugenie.
(The Royal Forums)
As the "Painter of Princes", Winterhalter was thereafter in constant demand by the courts of Britain (from 1841), Spain, Belgium, Russia, Mexico, the German courts, and France. During the 1850s and 1860s, Winterhalter painted a number of important portraits of Polish and Russian aristocrats. In 1857, he painted the portrait of Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Portrait of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, 1857
Oil on canvas, 120 × 95 cm (47.24 × 37.40 in)
Current location Hermitage Museum
Source torrent with info-hash

Maria Alexandrovna (1824-1880) Empress, (above), was the wife of Russian Emperor Alexander II, whom she married him on 16 April, 1841. She was the daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, Louis II. Her name was Maximiliana Wilhelmina Augusta Sophia Maria. In the summer of 1840, she came to Russia and the wedding took place on 16 April 1841.
She actively participated in organizing education for women and promoted the opening of gymnasiums for girls. With her patronage, several schools for women, the Society of the Red Cross and a number of other charitable societies were started in Russia. She bore Alexander II 8 children.
Prince P.A. Kropotkin wrote:
"Of the entrie royal family, without doubt, the most likeable was Maria Alexandrovna. She was remarkable for her sincerity, and when she made a compliment to anyone, she spoke what she really felt. Her ladies-in-waiting did not like her and found her too strict; they could not understand why she took the love affairs of her husband so personally. The Empress took an active part in the liberation of the serfs. Gymnasiums for women, founded by her, were well-established, with broad programs and a democratic spirit. Her friendship with Alexander Ushinsky saved this talented pedagogue of democratic views from exile, the fate of many gifted people of the time.
“She died in the Winter Palace all alone: Alexander II lived in another palace and paid his wife only official visits. The ladies-in-waiting, all except two who deeply loved her, had left her; all courtiers curried favor with Alexander’s new mistress, princess Ye. M. Dolgorukaya.”
(Franz Xaver Winterhalter's Page)

"The Girl from the Sabine Mountains"
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, May 20, 2009
Reuters Pictures at

It's been a long trip for the "Girl from the Sabine Mountains" to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Claimed by the Nazis as the result of a forced sale in pre-Second World War Germany, the painting has now been returned to the estate of its rightful owner following a groundbreaking court case in the United States. It was unveiled Wednesday along with six other recovered canvases originally belonging to renowned art collector Max Stern. It stands as a testament to the efforts of authorities who hope to eventually restore Stern's entire collection.
The painting was transported illegally to Germany from the U.S. in 2005 during negotiations with a German baroness whose family had the canvas for 70 years.
The court ruled that the original forced sale to a member of Adolf Hitler's regime was tantamount to theft. Stern, who fled to England in 1937 after the Nazis forced him to liquidate his art gallery, moved to Canada and became an art dealer after the Second World War.
Stern, who died childless in 1987, bequeathed his estate to the universities.
(By Nelson Wyatt, THE CANADIAN PRESS Copyright © 2009, Canoe Inc.)

L to R: McGill President, Heather Munroe-Blum
Concordia President, Judith Woodsworth.
Photo by Kate Hutchinson

Clarence Epstein
Concordia’s Director of Special Projects and Cultural Affairs
Photo by Kate Hutchinson

The canvas, illegally transported in 2005 from the United States to Germany during good faith negotiations with Baroness Von Morsey Pickard, finally returns to the universities after a precedent-setting battle for its ownership waged and won in the American federal courts.
Following more than seventy years’ possession by the family of a Nazi stormtrooper official, the courts affirmed that its forced sale was tantamount to theft and that a thief cannot pass good title. This historic decision, by extension, applies to hundreds of other works that Max Stern lost from his Düsseldorf family gallery and collection.
Indeed, the six month period since the rendering of the Winterhalter judgment has seen the return of three important Dutch and Italian Old Master paintings by European collectors as well as British and American dealers. The contributions of the American legal team led by Thomas Kline of Andrews Kurth LLP as well as the U.S Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security cannot be understated.
Adding to the New York State Banking Department’s Holocaust Claims Processing Office — the first organization to formally acknowledge the Estate’s rights to pursue restitution — the Stern Project now boasts an international network of collaborators ranging from government agencies, law enforcement, database services, auction houses, dealers, collectors, private foundations, scholars, archivists, conservators and curators.

No comments: