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A retrospective of the famous aristocratic portrait painter of the 19th century Europe opened in the USA

Emperors and queens, princesses, princes, aristocrats - The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (Texas, USA) presented “High Society: Portraits of Franz Xavier Winterhalter”. This is an exposition of approximately 45 paintings by one of the most famous court portrait painters of Europe of his time. Works collected from public, private and royal collections from around the world, arrived in Texas from Germany - after the exhibition at the City Museum of Freiburg - and then go to the Museum du Château de Compiègne in France.Toilets were added to the canvases made by the demanded 19th century couturier Charles Frederick Worth and several of his contemporaries.May 1, 1851Franz Xaver Winterhalter1851, 106.7 × 129.5 cmThe picture above depicts Duke Wellington, presenting gifts to Queen Victoria, her spouse, Prince Albert, and son, Prince Arthur. The scene reminds of the “Adoration of the Magi. The canvas was commissioned by Queen Victoria in honor of May 1, 1851, and had a threefold significance: it was the first birthday of Prince Arthur, the 82nd birthday of his godfather, the Duke of Wellington, as well as the opening day of the Great Exhibition in London (in the background) Crystal Palace, built for this event). Prince Arthur holds lilies of the valley - traditional May Day flowers symbolizing luck.

Franz Xavier Winterhalter with unsurpassed brilliance portrayed the elegance of his aristocratic models, combining virtuoso technique with subtle psychologism. He had an extraordinary talent to convey the sensuality of skin, the beauty of hair and the luxury of fabrics. Ballroom and wedding dresses, morning toilets and ceremonial clothes, which are presented in the exhibition, give an additional insight into how the interpretation of the fashion of that time became the primary factor that allowed Winterhalter to succeed as a painter of high society.

In the photo above: an evening dress from Charles Frederick Worth from yellow satin with lace and tulle (c. 1866 - 1868). Philadelphia Museum of ArtVarvara Rimskaya-Korsakov (Madame Rimskaya-Korsakov) Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1864, 117 × 90 cm

Franz Xavier Winterhalter (1805-1873) was born in the German village Menzenshvanda. At an early age, his talent was discovered by a teacher who sent the boy to nearby Freiburg to study drawing and creating engravings. In 1823, Winterhalter began his studies at the Art Academy of Munich, as well as under Josef Karl Stiler - a famous portrait painter and court painter of the King of Bavaria. Probably, this mentor instilled in the young man a love of portraiture and the desire to achieve a similar level.

Illustration above: Franz Xaver Winterhalter, "Self-Portrait with Brother Herman" (1840). The artist depicted himself sittingElizabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, in a ceremonial dress with diamond stars Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1865, 255 × 133 cm In 1830, Winterhalter moved to Karlsruhe, where he painted portraits of Grand Duke Leopold and his spouse Sophia Wilhelle and his spouses Sophia Wilhelle and Karlruhe, where he painted portraits of Grand Duke Leopold and his spouses Sophia Wilhelle and his spouses Sophia Wilhelle Two years later, the august couple sent the artist to Rome, and on returning in the summer of 1834, he became their court painter. However, soon the young man decided to conquer Paris - and quickly gained popularity there, becoming an artist at the court of King Louis-Philippe. The monarch ordered him to create more than 30 large portraits of the French royal family, which are still in Versailles and are considered among the best works of the master.Alexandra, Princess of WalesFranz Xaver Winterhalter1864, 162.4 × 114 cm
  • Franz Xaver Winterhalter, "Venceslava Barshchevskaya, Madame de Yuryevich" (1860)
  • Franz Xaver Winterhalter, "Princess Anna von Hesse (Maria Anna Prusskaya)" (1858)
In the wake of this success Winterhalter in 1842 for the first time went to England. Over the next 20 years, he completed more than 120 orders from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In the 1850s - 1860s, the artist traveled extensively in Europe, painted portraits of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria, Empress of Russia, Emperor Napoleon III and Eugenia of France, Queen Isabella II of Spain, as well as countless aristocrats and courtiers.Empress Eugenie with her maid of honor (Empress Eugenie de Montijo, barier apteater, princess Essling, Vicomtesse de Lesay-Marnesia, Marquis de Montebello, Duchess Bassano, Baroness Malareret, Marquis de las Marris and Marquis Laturs de Latthe de Bassano, Barrett Malareret, Marquis de las Marris and Marquis de Lattre Bassano × 420 cm Winterhalter was praised for the subtle intimacy of portraits, for the ability to create the image that the customer wanted, and for the excellent visualization of textures and fashionable details. Moreover, his work was criticized for its sweetness and superficiality.Empress Eugene (Eugenie de Montijo) in a dress of the 18th century Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1854, 92.7 × 73.7 cm Winterhalter ceased to be a court painter suddenly - after the fall of the Second Empire in France in 1870. He returned to his native Baden, where he soon died. His fame has outlived him for decades, but eventually faded away. From the artist’s non-existence, the exhibition, which was organized in 1987 by the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Small Palace in Paris, revived. The current exhibition "High Society" in Houston contains many works that were not included in the retrospective of thirty years ago. According to art historians, Franz Xavier Winterhalter takes a worthy place between his predecessor Anthony van Dyck and his follower John Singer Sargent.Sweet negaFranz Xaver Winterhalter1836, 114 × 159 cm
  • Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Napoleon III French (1855)
  • Franz Xaver Winterhalter, "Leopold I, King of Belgium" (1840)
The exhibition “High Society: Portraits of Franz Xavier Winterhalter” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston will run until August 14. According to the materials from the official website of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and artdaily.com. The main illustration is Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Grand Duchess Leonilla Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1843)