Maler im Auftrag Ihrer Majestät
Here comes the blog many of my American friends have been waiting for. On March 20, the Franz Xaver Winterhalter exhibition at Freiburg's Augustinermuseum closed its doors. It was the first Winterhalter retrospective in Germany so it is not surprising that a new record of 62,000 people from all over Germany visited the special exhibition admiring the wall-filling paintings.
The artworks are now on their way to Houston, Texas, and will be on display at the MFA, the Museum of Fine Arts, starting Apr 17, through Aug 14, 2016. I understand that a group from Madison will fly to Houston especially to see the paintings. What are they going to see?
Here is a report about my visit to the Freiburg exhibition. For Winterhalter's life you may like to consult Wikipedia.
As painter Winterhalter had his breakthrough at the Salon in Paris in 1836 presenting an Italian genre scene Il Dolce Farniente.
|Il Dolce Farniente (1836) (©Wikipedia)|
In 1851 Queen Victoria wrote in her diary: Took another painting lesson with Winterhalter after luncheon. He is so good natured & straight forward.
Winterhalter, now with royal patronage, was internationally celebrated. In Napoleon's III Second Empire, Winterhalter became the chief portraitist of the imperial family and court of France in 1854. The beautiful French Empress Eugénie was his favorite sitter and some experts regard the painting Empress Eugénie Surrounded by Her Ladies in Waiting of 1855 as Winterhalter's masterpiece.
|Empress Eugénie Surrounded by Her Ladies in Waiting (1855) (©Sstjean/Wikipedia)|
And Winterhalter became better with time. Here is a most frivolous portrait of Barbara (Barbe) Dmitrievna Mergassov Rimsky-Korsakova, a rich Russian lady who lived in Paris most of the time. Somehow Winterhalter replicated her way of living for she said about herself: I am free and independent. My mistakes are my mistakes. My success is my success. I believe in myself, I do everything alone and don't make a tragedy of it.
|Barbe Dmitrievna Mergassov Madame Rimsky-Korsakov (1864) |
|Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Courtly Gala Dress |
with Diamond Stars (1865) (©Wikipedia)