(Vienna 1803–1887) Profile Portrait of a Girl with Black Mantilla, oil on canvas, 72 x 61 cm, framed, (Rei)
Friedrich Amerling entered the Vienna Academy in 1827. He first took instruction in Joseph Klieber’s engraving class before joining the drawing class the following year. He continued his education from 1824 to 1826 at the Prague Academy and spent 1827 in London where he made the acquaintance of the famous portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence. In 1829 Amerling received the Reichel prize from the Vienna Academy for his painting “Dido on the stake”. Numerous journeys through Europe and the Near East followed. The artist is considered one of the principal representatives of Vienna’s Biedermeier period. Although at the beginning of his career he painted several landscapes, his primary focus was always portraiture. It is the atmospheric rendering of these portraits, with their preference for female models, which particularly speak to the viewer. He achieved flesh tones through the use of soft colours. The subjects’ facial expressions and gestures are accentuated by the play of light and shadow. Amerling’s portrayals of women are never standardised; he constantly strives to capture the essence of each subject. His gift for painting women was already praised by his contemporaries. As in the present work, it is the meditative gesture and the dreamlike gaze which distinguish Amerling’s portraits of women. The pose of the hand supporting the head recurs frequently in Amerling’s paintings in a series of variations. The sitter in this work displays similarities with the painting “Girl with Straw Hat”. (Dorotheum, Auction of 19th century paintings, 1 October 2008, lot 563, selling price €1.5 million) (cf. Sabine Grabner, Friedrich von Amerling 1803-1887, Vienna 2003)
Provenance: From an aristocratic Austrian family Since 1890 in direct family ownership
The work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné by Dr. Sabine Grabner. A similar version of this painting is in possession of the Wallraff-Richartz Museum, Cologne.
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