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Heinrich Friedrich Fueger "Marie Caroline Countess Kollonitz", outstanding miniature!!!, 1785/95
Price: ON REQUEST
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This miniature was offered on January 21st 2012 at German auction house "Carsten Zeige" as portrait of "Baroness Reischach" (according to authentic legend on verso) by anonymous artist. In reality it is extremely important and (until today unknown to art historians) work of famous Viennese neoclassical artist Heinrich Friedrich Fueger (Füger). We successfully acquired it after a short "battle" via telephone bidding.
Originally we discovered this miniature in auction catalogue three weeks before the beginning of the sale and immediately recognized the hand of Fueger. Moreover, in possession of several other Fueger's works (CLICK HERE) we have acquired enough knowledge about his style and choice of technique. The final argument in favor of Fueger's authorship is offered through comparison with his two very similar portrait works.
The first one is housed in the Louvre (see our image nr.14) and is a miniature on ivory with portrait of (then still unmarried) Archduchess Marie Clementine of Austria (1771-1801). Her wedding with Hereditary Prince Francis of Naples-Sicily took place in 1797; until that date she lived (from the year of her father's (Emperor Leopold II) accession to the Throne of Austria (1790)) in Vienna, where between 1792-95 she sat for this portrait.
The second work is a (painted in oils) portrait of Viennese noblewoman, Countess Marie Therese Merveldt-Pergen (see our image nr.15). It was produced in 1786 (followed in 1787 by a mezzotint after it). Despite the time difference of about 6-9 years between their executions both of aforementioned portraits show a similarly dressed aristocratic lady standing by a column topped with neoclassical vase in park landscape, holding in her hand a sheet of paper with freshly sketched (by her!) amateur landscape drawing.
Dr. Robert Keil, author of most recent Fueger's catalogue raisonée, suggests that Countess Merveldt-Pergen (image nr.15) had Fueger himself as drawing teacher. The same assumption can be applied to the other two portraits: those of Marie Clementine (Louvre) and "ours"!
Besides sharing the same composition, all three of aforementioned portraits demonstrate one recurring detail: sitter's claret-colored, waist-enhancing belt.
As we will see below, our sitter, Countess Marie Caroline Kollonitz von Kollograd married Baron von Reischach only in 1801, which implies that she is depicted in "our" portrait as a still unmarried young woman, about 10-15 years before.
Marie Caroline Countess Kollonitz von Kollograd (1769-1826; for her genealogical information, see our image nr.12) was born as daughter of Austrian colonel (and - from 1784 - Major-General) Karl Joseph Count Kollonitz von Kollograd and Marie Friederike Countess Cavriani. On the 16th of August 1801 she married (7 years her junior) Freiherr (Baron) Judas Thaddäus von Reischach (1776-1839). Their only child, daughter Gabrielle (1802-1890; see image nr13) married in 1822 Stanislaus Count von Wilczek (1792-1847). Subsequently their second child, son Johann Nepomuk Count von Wilczek (1837-1922) became later famous adventurer and sponsor of Polar expeditions, as well as President of the Austrian Geographical Society. Two islands in Franz Josef Land - Wilczek Land and Wilczek Island - were named after him (for his biography from Wikipedia, CLICK HERE).
Heinrich Friedrich Fueger (1751 Heilbronn - 1818 Vienna) was a German-Austrian neoclassical artist born in Heilbronn, Germany in 1751. He began autodidactically with miniature portraits and as a young boy was shortly trained by the artist Guibal in Ludwigsburg. However he returned to Heilbronn to study law in 1768 and during his university studies continued painting portrait miniatures. His interest in painting grew and he dedicated himself to studying art as pupil of Oeser in Leipzig. He exhibited succesfully at the Dresdner Academy and moved to Dresden, where he worked until the year 1774 then moving to Vienna. He soon enjoyed the interest of the Imperial House and other influential sponsors in Vienna and traveled to Rome on a scolarship in 1776 studying the classical works, Raffael, Annibal Caracci and Domenichino. Among his contemporaries the artists Mengs, Trippel and David had a strong influence on his works. He returned to Vienna in 1783 to be appointed the Vice-director of the Vienna Academy in the same year and Director of the Academy in 1795. From 1806 he was also Director of the Imperial Picture Gallery. He was a very popular portrait and historical painter, a respected master of his time.
Our images nr.16-24 show a number of other miniatures by Heinrich Friedrich Fueger (among others, those offered at international art auction market in the last years).
Creation Year: 1785/95
Object Type:Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: watercolor on ivory
Inscription:verso: old legend
Creator: Heinrich Friedrich Fueger
Creator Dates: 1751 Heilbronn-1818 Vienna
Nationality:German / Austrian
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