Gustav Klimt (1862–1918)
Portrait of Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt, c. 1914-1916
Oil on canvas
180 × 126 cm (70.9 × 49.6 in)
Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt was the daughter of August and Serena Ledere (below), Klimt’s most important patrons. The family’s collection eventually grew to include some fifteen canvases by the artist, among them an 1899 portrait of Serena – described by those who knew her as the best-dressed woman in Vienna – and a 1915 painting of her mother, Charlotte Pulitzer, a relation of Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the famous prize for writing. More on Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt
Gustav Klimt (Austrian, Baumgarten 1862–1918 Vienna)
Serena Pulitzer Lederer (1867–1943), Date:1899
Oil on canvas
75 1/8 x 33 5/8 in. (190.8 x 85.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Serena (Szeréna) Lederer, born Pulitzer (* 20 May 1867 in Budapest; † 27 March 1943 ) was the spouse of the Industry Magnate August Lederer, close friend of Gustav Klimt and instrumental in the constitution of the collection of Klimt’s art pieces.
Born into a wealthy family, (a relative of the U.S. journalist Joseph Pulitzer), Serena was known for being a beauty in her youth and later a Grande Dame. The family was resident at the castle Ledererschlössel in Weidlingau. In Vienna, one room of the flat was dedicated to Klimt works. The painting of Szeréna Lederer done in 1899 was the origin of a close friendship. On Klimt’s recommendation, in 1912, Egon Schiele was introduced to the Lederer family and became friends with Erich Lederer, the youngest son. Szeréna Lederer was instrumental in the collection of Klimt’s work. There are portraits of her mother, her daughter Elisabeth (above) and herself by the artist. It has been suggested Elisabeth was the biological daughter of Lederer and Klimt.
The Lederer collection was confiscated from Serena in 1940 and she fled to Budapest, where she died three years later. The Gestapo transferred the collection to Immendorf Castle, but the castle was set on fire in May, 1945 so that it would not fall into the hands of the Allies and the collection was destroyed. More on Serena (Szeréna) Lederer
Gustav Klimt, 1862 – 1918
DAME IM FAUTEUIL (WOMAN IN AN ARMCHAIR), c. 1897-98.
Oil on board
20 1/2 by 20 1/2 in., 52 by 52 cm
Dame im Fauteuil (Woman in Armchair) shows the artist’s affiliation with the Symbolist painters of the late nineteenth century. The female sitter, richly swathed in a matching red dress and hat, her narrow waist belted in a deep green, is seated in a patterned armchair against an abstracted background of brownish-red and taupe. The serenity and delicate pallor of her face is echoed in the ghostly quality of the two outlined heads in the upper left of the composition. More on Dame im Fauteuil
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d’art. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods.
Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his “golden phase,” many of which include gold leaf. More Gustav Klimt
Alfred Seifert (1850–1901)
Hypatia, c. 1901
Oil on panel
50.2 x 39.4 cm
Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415 CE) was a scientist, inventor, and philosopher. She is also the first known female mathematician. Her death definitively ended the great era of ancient Greek mathematics and science. The Middle Ages came soon after.
Her father, Theon, was also a mathematician and philosopher, associated with the Musæum (a pagan temple-cum-philosophical school), and assisted her in getting started in her work. He personally taught her in the arts, literature, mathematics, science and philosophy.She was best known as a teacher, eventually becoming the head of the Alexandrian neo-Platonic school.
She was known for being very eloquent, very virtuous, and very beautiful, easily able to hold her own among men; the rationalist minister M. M. Mangasarian described her thus:
“”It appears that her beauty, which would have made even a Cleopatra jealous, was as great as her modesty, and both were matched by her eloquence, and all three surpassed by her learning.”
Chronicles relate that around the time of Hypatia’s death, the patriarch Cyril drummed up a large mob. Hypatia was seen by the Christian population as being the cause of their continuing dispute and it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Cæsareum, where they completely stripped and murdered her with tiles. More on Hypatia
SIR JAMES GUTHRIE P.R.S.A., H.R.A., R.S.W., L.L.D. (SCOTTISH 1859-1930)
THE MORNING PAPER, c. 1890
52cm x 62cm (20.5in x 24.5in)
John Singer Sargent, 1856 – 1925
PORTRAIT OF MRS. CHARLES BEATTY ALEXANDER, c. 1902
Oil on canvas
58 by 37 7/8 inches, (147.3 by 96.2 cm)
Mrs Charles Alexander, née Harriet Crocker (1859-1935) was the daughter of Charles Crocker of San Francisco, one of the Big Four who built the Central Pacific Railroad across the Sierra Nevada Mountains to connect with the Union Pacific Railroad, then under construction westwards from Omaha. She married Charles Beatty Alexander, a distinguished New York lawyer, in 1887. They lived in a mansion on the site of the present Bergdorf Goodman department store, and were collectors and patrons of art.
Their wealth and style made them prominent figures in society, but they seemed to represent an older, more gracious New York that was passing. On the day of Alexander’s funeral (9 February 1927), the art dealer René Gimpel wrote: ‘His wife leads all society here. With him, a moment in American life comes to an end. More on Mrs Charles Alexander
John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.
His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his “Portrait of Madame X”, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent
John William Godward, R.B.A., 1861-1922, BRITISH
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 by 23 5/8 in., 80 by 60 cm
The excavation of Pompeii in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries captivated the popular imagination, and Godward has emblazoned his model against a red ground that may reference the walls of the House of Julia Felix, a wealthy heiress, property owner, business woman and public figure in Pompeii. Her villa was first discovered in 1775, a richly decorated shrine was uncovered in 1912, which Godward may have visited. Like his contemporary, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Godward was an exacting researcher, sourcing every element of his paintings from the collection at the British Museum, or from photographs and objects that he collected. The table top, for example, is strewn with various objets de toilette from antiquity: including the Roman glass Pyxis, a cylindrical box used for storing cosmetics, the ivory and wood box, and a hand mirror with Etruscan motif handle. The model is dressed in a teal colored stola (the feminine form of the ancient Roman toga), drawn tightly at the waist with a palla (Roman shawl) of a deep wine color, and tied with an exquisitely-painted patterned yellow ribbon. Her hair is twisted into a long cascading braid, which she is arranging on top of her head using ivory hairpins. More on Julia
John William Godward (9 August 1861 – 13 December 1922) was an English painter from the end of the Neo-Classicist era. He was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but his style of painting fell out of favour with the arrival of painters such as Picasso. He committed suicide at the age of 61 and is said to have written in his suicide note that “the world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso”.
His already estranged family, who had disapproved of his becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. No photographs of Godward are known to survive. More John William Godward
John Singer Sargent, (1856–1925)
Portrait of Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston (1879-1958), c. 1925
Oil on canvas
127 × 92.7 cm (50 × 36.5 in)
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
Grace Elvina Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston, GBE (1878 – 29 June 1958) was a United States-born British marchioness and the second wife of George Curzon, British parliamentarian, cabinet minister, and former Viceroy of India. She was born in Decatur, Alabama. Her first husband was Alfred Huberto Duggan of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with whom she had three children.
Grace Duggan was a wealthy woman after her husband’s death, inheriting large estancias in South America. In 1916, Philip Alexius de László painted her as a widow in nurse’s uniform. (below).
In 1917, aged 38, she became the second wife of Lord Curzon. In 1923, when Curzon was passed over for the office of Prime Minister partly on the advice of Arthur Balfour, Balfour joked that Curzon ‘has lost the hope of glory but he still possesses the means of Grace”.
Despite her fertility-related operations and several miscarriages, the couple did not produce a heir. This eroded their marriage, which ended in separation but not divorce. Letters from Curzon to Grace in the early 1920s indicate that they remained devoted to each other.
In 1925, soon before she was again widowed, her portrait was painted by the American artist John Singer Sargent (above). This oil on canvas painting was Sargent’s last oil portrait. The painting was purchased in 1936 by the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire.
She was named Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in the 1922 for “services rendered during the War to the British Red Cross Society, and to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association, the Belgian -Soldiers’ Club, and Queen Alexandra’s Nursing’ Association. More on Grace Elvina Curzon
John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) see above
Philip de László, (1869–1937)
Grace Elvina Hinds, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston (1877-1958), c. 1916
Oil on canvas
79.4 × 63.5 cm (31.3 × 25 in)
National Trust, Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Philip Alexius de László, MVO (30 April 1869 – 22 November 1937) was a Hungarian painter known for his portraits of royal and aristocratic personages. In 1900, he married Lucy Guinness of Stillorgan, County Dublin, and became a British citizen in 1914. László was born in humble circumstances in Budapest as Laub Fülöp. He was apprenticed at an early age to a photographer while studying art, eventually earning a place at the National Academy of Art, where he studied. He followed this with studies in Munich and Paris. László’s portrait of Pope Leo XIII earned him a Grand Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1900. In 1903 László moved from Budapest to Vienna. In 1907 he moved to England and remained based in London for the remainder of his life
László’s patrons awarded him numerous honours and medals. In 1909 he was invested MVO by Edward VII. In 1912 he was ennobled by King Franz Joseph of Hungary; his surname then became “László de Lombos”, but he soon was using the name “de László”.
Despite his British citizenship, his marriage and five British sons, de László was interned for over twelve months in 1917 and 1918 during the First World War. He was exonerated and released in June 1919. Due to overwork de László suffered heart problems for the last years of his life. In October 1937 he had a heart attack and died a month later at his home in Hampstead, London. More on Philip Alexius de László
Evelyn Pickering de Morgan, 1855 – 1919, BRITISH
CLYTIE, c. 1886-7
Oil on canvas
41 3/4 by 17 1/2 in., 106 by 44.5 cm
In this painting, de Morgan interprets the story of the water nymph Clytie, the daughter of the King of Babylon. As told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, Clytie falls in love with the sun god, Apollo, and when he abandons her for another, she strips herself and sits naked on the rocks in the sun, nourished only by her tears. Each day from dawn to dusk, she stares at the chariot of the sun, driven by her erstwhile lover, as he journeys through the sky. On the ninth day, she is transformed into a sunflower (a popular emblem of the Aesthetic movement), which turns its head to look longingly at the sun. More on Clytie
Evelyn De Morgan (30 August 1855 – 2 May 1919) was an English painter whose works were influenced by the style of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. She was a follower of Pre-Raphaelist Edward Burne-Jones. Her paintings exhibit spirituality; use of mythological, biblical, and literary themes; the role of women; light and darkness as metaphors; life and death; and allegories of war.
She was born Mary Evelyn Pickering to upper middle class parents. Evelyn was educated at home and started drawing lessons when she was 15. She went on to persuade her parents to let her go to art school. At first they discouraged it, but in 1873 she was enrolled at the Slade School of Art. She was granted a scholarship at Slade which entitled her to three years of financial assistance. However, since the scholarship required that she draw nudes using charcoal and she did not care for this technique, she eventually declined it.
She was also a pupil of her uncle John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, who was a great influence on her works. Beginning in 1875, Evelyn often visited him in Florence where he lived. This also enabled her to study the great artists of the Renaissance; she was particularly fond of the works of Botticelli. This influenced her to move away from the classical subjects favored by the Slade school and to make her own style. She first exhibited in 1877 at the Grosvenor Gallery in London and continued to show her paintings thereafter. More on Evelyn De Morgan
Franz Xaver Winterhalter, (German, Menzenschwand 1805–1873 Frankfurt)
FLORINDA, c. 1853
Oil on canvas
70 1/4 x 96 3/4 in. (178.4 x 245.7 cm)
The legend of the eighth-century Visigothic king Rodrigo of Hispania tells how Rodrigo’s seduction of the beautiful maiden Florinda (‘La Cava’) initiated the Arab conquest of Spain. In this scene Florinda (centre left) and her companions, all draped to varying degrees in luxurious Indian silks, prepare to bathe in the grounds of the castle near Toledo where she lives, unaware that they are being watched by King Rodrigo who hides in the bushes nearby. Rodrigo falls violently in love and seduces Florinda, to the anger of her father, Count Julian, who secretly meets with the Moors and encourages them to invade Spain. In the subsequent war Rodrigo is killed in battle by the invaders, who subject the country to their rule for two hundred years. More on this painting
Franz Xaver Winterhalter (20 April 1805 – 8 July 1873). Born in a small village in Germany’s Black Forest, Franz Xaver Winterhalter left his home to study painting at the academy in Munich. 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 Baden, 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. More on Franz Xaver Winterhalter
William Edward Frost, SURREY 1810 – 1877 LONDRES, ÉCOLE ANGLAISE
Oil on canvas
70 x 86 cm ; 27 1/2 by 37 3/4 in.
William Edward Frost (September 1810 – 4 June 1877) was an English painter of the Victorian era. Virtually alone among English artists in the middle Victorian period, he devoted his practice to the portrayal of the female nude.
Frost was educated in the schools of the Royal Academy, beginning in 1829; he established a reputation as a portrait painter before branching into historical and mythological subjects, including the subgenre of fairy painting that was characteristic of Victorian art. In 1839 he won the Royal Academy’s gold medal for his Prometheus Bound, and in 1843 he won a prize in the Westminster Hall competition for his Una Alarmed by Fauns (a subject from Spenser’s The Faerie Queene). He was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy in 1846, and a full member in 1870.
Frost is widely recognized as a follower of William Etty, who preceded him as the primary British painter of nudes in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Despite the prudishness of the Victorian era, Frost’s relatively chaste nudes were popular, and his career was financially successful. More on William Edward Frost
School of Paul Emil Jacobs, (1802–1866)
The Pasha’s Favourite (Ali Pasha and Kira Vassiliki), c. 1844
Oil on canvas
102.5 × 123 cm (40.4 × 48.4 in)
Vassiliki Kontaxi, nicknamed Kyra Vassiliki, Lady Vassiliki, 1789 – 1834) was an influential Greek woman brought up in the seraglio of the Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha. Vassiliki was born in the Greek village of Plisivitsa in Thesprotia. At the age of twelve she sought an audience with the local Ottoman ruler, Ali Pasha, to intercede for her father’s life. Having granted her father pardon, Ali Pasha married Vassiliki in 1808 and she joined his harem. Being allowed to practice her Christian faith, she interceded on behalf of Greeks. During this period she undertook a number of charity initiatives. In 1819–20 she financed a number of restoration works in Mount Athos.
In January 1822, during the last stage of the siege of Ioannina by the Ottoman Sultan’s forces, Vassiliki together with Ali Pasha and his private guard escaped to Ioannina Island. Ali Pasha was executed there on January 22 by an Ottoman delegation, having being declared an outlaw by the Sultan. Following Ali’s death, Vassiliki was sent as a prisoner to the Ottoman capital, Constantinople. She was later pardoned and returned to Greece, which meanwhile gained its independence after the successful Greek War of Independence (1821–30). In 1830, the Greek state gave Vassiliki a medieval tower in Katochi, where she lived the rest of her life. She died in 1834. More on Kyra Vassiliki
Paul Emil Jacobs (August 20, 1802 in Gotha – January 6, 1866) was a German painter. Jacobs received his art training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and first became known for his painting of Mercury and Argus (from Classical mythology). In 1824 he went to Rome, where he attracted critical attention by painting “The Raising of Lazarus”. In 1836 he made a series of historical paintings at the Welfenschloss in Hannover.
Jacobs was noted for his mastery of nudes, expressed particularly in the representation of such Orientalist themes as “A slave market” or of sleeping and waking boys. His image of Scheherezade from Arabian Nights is noted for its light effects. The famous Ali Pasha was depicted by Jacobs in a moment of relaxed intimacy with his favorite mistress (or wife) Kira Vassiliki (above).
Like many Europeans of his generation, Jacobs shared in the Philhellene sympathy for the Greek War of Independence, which took place when he was in the early stage of his artistic career. This was manifested in his painting very sympathetic pictures of “Greek Freedom Fighters”.
Jacobs was also a portrait painter. Lithographed portraits by him include those of Goethe, Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider and Döring.
In 1844, Jacobs created the monumental altarpiece “Calvary”, for St. Augustine’s Church in Gotha. It was removed from St. Augustine’s in 1939, and since 1998 the altarpiece has been located in the church of Hohenleuben. More on Paul Emil Jacobs
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