Alfred Fürst Montenuovo 1917

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Half portrait en face, arms slightly bent. The portrayed is depicted with bald head, blond mustache and white, short full beard and in rich golden court uniform. He wears a purple-green shoulder ribbon (of the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen) across his chest, which is further decorated with seven medals and insignia, including the Habsburg House Order of the Golden Fleece.

Oil on canvas 85 x 66 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1917.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna GG 7284
Image: KHM Museumsverband KHM Vienna.

Alfred Prince of Montenuovo 16.9.1854 Vienna to 6.9.1927 Vienna. S.his biography in the OeBL.
Court official. 2nd cousin of Emperor Franz Josef I. (The Montenuovos descended from Erzh. Marie-Luise, Duchess of Parma and Piacenza. She was the 2nd wife of Napoleon, then married in 2nd marriage Count Neipperg, Italianized as Montenuovo. Due to their kinship with the imperial family, the Montenuovos were elevated to the rank of princes). In 1898 Alfred Montenuovo entered the service of the imperial court, and from 1909 he was First Lord Chamberlain and thus responsible for many matters of the imperial household, including the court theaters, in which he showed particular interest. Involved in the appointment of Gustav Mahler to the Court Opera in Vienna. Conflicts with the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand (assassinated in Sarajevo), which came to light at his funeral. For this reason, Emperor Karl I had him replaced by Konrad Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst in 1917.

The Adams portrait of 1917 was likely painted around the time of Alfred von Montenuvo's replacement as 1st Obersthofmeister and was intended for the imperial collections. Montenuovo is depicted with all the uniform and medal splendor of the imperial court, but Adams shows the sitter in a definitively modern style that was probably entirely in keeping with the Obersthofmeister's artistic interests. The uniform is depicted by means of coarse, expressive brushwork (probably done after the portrait session in the studio and possibly, like the entire portrait, based on an almost identical photographic template, see cross-references) and the portrait is designed with a non-representational color background. At the same time, presumably at the request of the sitter, Adams made a duplicate that completely corresponds to the original (only the placement of the year 1917 in the signature is different, see its catalog entry) and that has survived in the family's possession.
The portrait marks the peak of Adams' career as a portrait painter of the so-called "First Society" of Vienna. In addition to the two children of Alfred von Montenuovo, Adams also portrayed Emperor Franz Josef I, Emperor Karl, and the short-lived Minster President Prince Konrad Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst.

Exhibited

1917 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 62 1917/18 #1549).

1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Vienna Society in Portrait, catalog no. 41.

Literature

Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #41 (no ill.).

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 158, cat.#126, o.ill.

Provenance

Imperial Collections (Vienna Castle). Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) Vienna GG_7284.

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