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Peter Adolf Hall "Brothers of King Gustav III of Sweden", two important published pastels!!, 1766
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We are dealing here with two important pastel portraits of both younger brothers of King Gustav III of Sweden (CLICK HERE) - 18-year-old Karl, Prince of Sweden, Duke of Soendemanland and his 16-year-old brother, Fredrik Adolf, Prince of Sweden, Duke of Oestergoetland. Each of them is depicted in armour and with Commander Cross of Maltese (St. John) Order.
The sitter of the portrait on the right, Prince Karl, was born on 7 October 1748 in Stockholm as son of King Adolf Fredrik (see our web #36117 ) and Queen Louisa Ulrika. In Autumn of 1779 he became the Swedish Masonic Leader (National Grand Master). By two major ritual revisions in 1780 and 1800 he created a logical masonic system with ten degrees. His full masonic title was "Sovereign Grand Commander of 7th Province" and he was also the head of all European lodges within the Chapter degrees (the aristocratic, higher degrees of Freemasonry that claimed to be descended from the old order of Templar Knights). In this function he controlled also all lodges in North Europe including the Russian Masonry.
In late 1779 the Great National Lodge of Swedish System was inaugurated in St.Petersburg and submitted to the "Province Grand Master" (to Duke Karl of Soendermanland). This caused great unsatisfaction to Empress Catharina II, because several aristocrats and members of the government were members of this Lodge. In St.Petersburger newspaper "Wedomosti" there was an article about this inauguration: "the consequences were grave, since Her Majesty (Catharina II) finds obnoxious that her subjects have such a close relation to a prince of Swedish origin." In this period the important Russian freemansons were: the Curator of the Moscow University M.M. Kheraskov, Prince A.A. Cherkaski, I.P. Turgenev, Prince Yengalichev, A.M. Kutuzov, P.A. Tatishchev, Prince Trubetskoi, N.L. Novikov and J.G. Schwartz.
After the assassination in 1792 of his brother King Gustav III, Duke of Söndemanland became regent for his nephew Gustav IV. He introduced some liberal policies, but these were again abandoned after the end of his regency in 1796. Called to the throne at the forced abdication of his nephew in 1809, Karl accepted a new constitution that limited the monarch's power, and he signed treaties with Denmark and France as well as a treaty ceding Finnland to Russia. In 1810 he adopted the French Marshal Bernadotte (later King Karl XIV) as his heir, and leaving all affairs in his hands thereafter. He died in 1818 (for his extensive biography CLICK HERE).
Our images nr.6-7 show two other portraits of the Duke.
Concerning the authorship of this work:
For a long time we believed that we were dealing here with a work of Swedish Court portraitist (working chiefly in pastel technique) Gustaf Lundberg (1695-1786). In 2006, in newly-published "Dictionary of pastellists before 1800" by Neil Jeffares, in the article about famous Swedish artist Peter Adolf Hall (mainly portrait miniaturist, he was also known as author of pastel portraits) we found our painting described (and illustrated) by Neil Jeffares as a work of this artist (see our image nr.8 with corresponding clips). Mr. Jeffares is referring to Grove's "Dictionary of Art" (1996).
Obviously, Grove had used the same information sources as the author of the recently published Exhibition Catalogue "Pierre Adolphe Hall" (Paris 2000/Regine De Plinval de Guillebon). Our image nr.9 shows clips from this catalogue.
There is a mention of Hall's receiving in May of 1766 600 talers for the execution of pastel (sic!) portraits of "duc de Sudermanie, future roi Charles XIII" and of his brother "le duc d'Ostrogothie" (see our image nr.10 from abovementioned catalogue showing Hall's receipt of this transaction).
Ten years after acquisition of aforenamed portrait we suddenly discovered in sale catalogue of one of German provincial auction houses (and consequently bought) the counterpart to this portrait - also mentioned in P. A. Hall's receipt portrait of Karl's brother, "duc d'Ostrogothie" (see again our images nr.9-10). Twice erroneously offered au auction sales (the first one took place still in 2004) as portrait of King Stanislaw Leszczynski of Poland (absolute nonsence - CLICK HERE for known portraits of latter) it was nevertheless recognized by Neil Jeffares and included by him into his catalogue of Hall's pastels (see our image nr.11).
The sitter of the portrait on the left see again our (image nr.1), Prince Fredrik Adolf, Duke of Oestergoetland was born on 18 July 1750 in Drottingholm. He was the youngest of three sons of King Adolf Fredrik of Sweden. As a child he has a weak health and a firce temperament. His education became somewhat lacking.
He was made colonel in 1762, major-general in 1768, lieutenant-general in 1774, Commander of the Vaestmanland Regiment in 1775 and field marshal in 1792. He was given a minor role in the Revolution of 1772 of his older brother Gustav, who gave him the task of agitation in provinces Soendemanland and Oestergoetland.
Fredrik Adolf served in the Russo-Swedish War in Finnland, in 1788. During the Battle of Hogland, he wished to send reinforcements by fleet to aid his brother Karl (sitter of our first portrait). This was prevented, and Fredrik left the army in protest to Gustav III, whom he reffered to as a tyrant. He thereby came to belong to the opposition, and he also became involved in the planned coup by his sister-in-law (Karl's wife) to despose the monarch. However the hesitancy of Karl effectively discontinued this coup.
In July 1793, Fredrik Adolf was given the position to chair the government during the journey of his 5-year-old nephew (and now King Gustav IV Adolf - see our web #34943 ) and the regent in the southern provinces, but nothing whatsoever was apparently accomplished during his tenure, and during similiar journey of king in 1794, he was not entrusted again.
In 1800 Fredrik Adolf left Sweden for health reasons and travelled to Germany and then to France. He died on 12 December 1803 in French town Montpellier. He was never married.
Peter Adolf Hall was born in 1739 in Boras , Sweden and died in 1793 in Liege.
After studying medicine in Uppsala and Greifswald, he went on in 1756 to study painting in Berlin, and in 1758 in Hamburg under K.F. W. Richard, then, between 1760 and 1766 in Stockholm, in the studio of the sculptor P.L'Archveque and of the painter in pastels, G. Lundberg.
In 1766 he received an order from the Court of Sweden to paint a portrait of the King Gustav III. Afterward, he want to Paris where, favoured by Roslin, he became an associate of the Academy in 1769 and official painter to the King for the miniatures he exhibited at the Salon in that year.
His Studio, in the Rue Neuve-des-Bons-enfants, was an artistic center frequented by Hubert Robert, Greuze, Mme Vigee Lebrun, etc.
The year 1784, however, set a difficult period in motion, and Hall went on to loose all of his capital between 1789 and 1793. Far from his family, he wandered during the last period from Aix to Brussels, Spaa, Maastricht and Liege.
Schidlof writes, "although Hall was Swedish by origin, he is considered as the greatest (!) French miniaturist of the second half of the 18th century".
Many of Hall's miniatures are in Louvre, the Wallace Collection (London), the National Museum of Stockholm, and other prominent international museums.
Creation Year: 1766
Measurements: UNFRAMED:52,0x42,0cm/20,5x16,5in FRAMED: 64,0x53,3cm/25,2x21,0in
Object Type: Framed pastel painting
Style: Old Masters Paintings
Technique: pastel on paper laid on canvas
Creator: Peter Adolf (Pierre Adolphe) Hall
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1739 Boras-1793 Liege
Nationality: Swedish / French
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