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# 41949

Franz Krueger? Ivan Winberg? "Tsar Nikolai I", superior oil miniature, 1835/40

Price: 7900  EUR

(please note additional 13% tax applies for transactions concluded within the European Union)

In 1835, famous Prussian portraitist Franz Krueger painted in Berlin (commissioned by St. Petersburg Court) a monumental full-length portrait of Tsar Nikolai, with the latter standing in landscape, his head turned right (left, for the viewer). For a couple of months after its completion, the painting was kept in Krueger's Berlin studio; in fact, he was afforded the freedom to make a few of his own copies.
In July 1835, the original portrait was delivered to St. Petersburg and was hung in one of the rooms of the New Palace (Imperial Sommer Residence in Tsarskoe Selo). Presumable, it was kept there up until 1941 - the year of German occupation of Tsarskoe Selo. Further information about this painting is unavailable.
However, we did come across an 1843 engraving by Dutch artist B. Taurel showing what the painting had looked like originally (see our image nr.9). Additionally, we had seen several partial copies after this portrait painted later by different Russian artists.

One would think that our small half-length portrait of Tsar Nikolai would have been one of Krueger's (own) copies commissioned by some Russian or Prussian courtier or institution (for a portrait of similar size and composition sold in 1993 at Christie's Munich, see our image nr.11), if not for one small detail.
The full-length portrait of Tsar Nikolai (known, as already mentioned, through its 1843 engraving and several ensuing (partial) copies) presents the Tsar with slightly wavy hair at the top of his head, whereas in our portrait, his hair is neatly coiffed into a smooth shape, while concealing an already extensive hair-loss. This factor suggests that our portrait was painted a few years later than 1835.
Additionally, we have discovered the very same representation of Nikolai I in miniatures on ivory , which were painted in 1840s by St. Petersburg miniaturist Ivan Winberg (for example, see our images nr.12-13). Although he surely never portrayed the Tsar from nature, he must have had an access to Krueger's portrait in Tsarskoe Selo and thus based his works on it (he was keen on slightly changing the Tsar's coiffure according to his preferred style of that moment).
Although it is known that (as miniaturist) academic artist Ivan Winberg mostly worked in technique of watercolor on ivory, it leaves open the possibility of his also painting with oils…

Franz Krueger (1797 Grossbadegast - 1857 Berlin), called "Horse-Krueger", studied at the Berlin Academy for a short time from 1812 and continued his education as an autodidact. He extensively studied thoroughbred horses at the royal stables. Prince August of Prussia and Count Neidhardt of Gneisenau helped him to acquire high patrons, who let portray themselves on horseback and with retinue. Krueger soon rose to the most noted militarian and portrait painter of Berlin. He painted portraits of the members of the Prussian royal family, of various court persons, of Prussian high society. In 1825 Friedrich Wilhelm III granted him the title of "Royal Professor". At the same time he became a full member of the Academy of Arts. Krueger's fame led him to numerous professional trips. In 1839-1840 he worked at the court of King of Hannover, in 1854 at the court of Grand Duke of Mecklenburg. The artist repeatedly travelled to St.Petersburg to paint on commission of Tsar Nikolai I (in 1836, 1845, 1847, 1850/51). From 1840 on he was the favourite painter of the next Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and his retinue.

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Ivan Andreevich Winberg (1798 Helsinki - 1851 St. Petersburg) was a well-known Russian miniaturist and son of the Swedish-born, St. Petersburg goldsmith Andreas Winberg (1756 - after 1827), who from 1779 worked in Russia. From the early 1820s Winberg studied at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, where he regularly exhibited his miniature portraits from 1824. In 1830 he received the title of "naznacheny v akademiki" (Associate of the Academy) artist and - in 1846 - titles of Professor and Academician (Member of the Academy) of miniature painting.
He also regularly exhibited his miniatures at annual academic exhibitions (1824, 1833, 1836, etc.). He was also active at the Court, which is evident from his miniature portraits (on ivory) of Alexander I, Nikolai I, Prince Kochubei, Count Sukhtelen, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, Alexander II (as Grandduke), and other members of St. Petersburg high society.
Winberg's son, Ivan Ivanovich Winberg, was also a miniaturist.
Many portraits of Ivan Andreevich Winberg can be viewed in most esteemed museums of Russia: Tretyakov Gallery, Russian Museum, Hermitage, State Historical Museum, as well as other important Russian museum collections. His other works achieve increasingly high prices at the current antique market.

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Provenance: German private collection

minov1617

Condition: good; in Victorian gilt-metal easel frame; glassed

Creation Year: 1835/40

Measurements:UNFRAMED:13,5x0,0cm/5,3x0,0in

Object Type:Framed oil painting

Style: 19th century paintings

Technique: oil on paper, laid on cardboard (oval) by the artist

Inscription:-

Creator: Russian School

Creator Dates: -

Nationality:Russian


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