Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe, 1830-70

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9780904017847: Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe, 1830-70
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Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1803-73) was the outstanding court portraitist of mid-19th century Europe. For Queen Victoria alone he painted over 120 works, and he was also portrait painter to the French court, first to Louis-Philippe, and later to Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie. Over his long career Winterhalter painted an array of the crowned heads of Europe, and the most beautiful women of the day, many of them dressed in the spectacular silk and tulle confections of the Parisian couturier, Worth. This is a comprehensive survey of Winterhalter's work published for the major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1987, and the Petit Palais, Paris in 1988. The catalogue presents a fully documented account of Winterhalter's life and provides a timely reassessment of his contributions to portraiture. In addition to the catalogue, the book also contains an appendix, an annotated edition of the "Nekrologe und Verzeichnisse der Gemalde von Franz & Hermann Winterhalter", a list of works by Winterhalter and his brother Herman drawn up by their nephew, Franz Wild, and published in Zurich in 1894. The appendix functions, in effect, as a catalogue raisonne, serving as a record of works which have disappeared as well as a checklist for unfamiliar paintings which may emerge in the future.

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In this volume, originally published in England in 1988, each beautifully written portrait is presented in the context of other portraits painted at the same European court. The portrait section is preceded by a full and scholarly overview of the painter and an outline chronology of his life in the context of European events, and it is followed by Aileen Ribeiro's fascinating essay, "Fashion in the Work of Winterhalter." The "catalog" that follows is a complete description of each portrait, with a full discussion of the painting's subject, size, and provenance, a description of the work, exhibitions in which it has appeared, and much other artistic and historic information. Also included is an annotated edition of Franz Wild's list of Winterhalter's paintings of 1894, an index to Wild's list, and an index of sitters and subjects. A small, charming section of drawings, watercolors, and prints completes the package. The volume is handsomely produced, with the highest quality reproductions. This work of scholarship and artistic merit deserves to be included in most public and academic libraries.
- Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, Ct.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Richard Ormond
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Ormond, Richard, Blackett-Ord, Carol
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