Portrait of a lady, alleged. Amalia Edlinger 1908

Full-length portrait of a standing young lady in a slightly side view, her head slightly tilted and turned towards the viewer. She wears a floor-length black chiffon dress with a wide neckline and over her shoulders a light gray fur coat with light blue silk lining, which she holds onto her left shoulder with her left hand and lets it swing forward holding it with her right hand at waist level. The sitter is wearing a single row short pearl necklace, pearl ear clips, and a pearl ring. A small pearl necklace is braided into her brown hair like a diadem. In the background of the picture, an antique massive chest of drawers, a landscape wall tapestry, and a partially gold-framed painting are visible.

JQAW# P_1908_030
Oil on canvas 215 x 135 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1908
Unknown private collection.
Image: Auktionshaus Geble, Germany.

This portrait, dated 1908 according to the auction house, was unknown in the Adams literature until its auction on July 2, 2011. Described at auction as "Portrait of a Standing Young Woman, Probably Lady of Viennese Society," there was no provenance or other indication that would allow identification of the sitter. For the image from the auction later posted on Wikimedia Commons, an anonymous English comment appears: "this is Amalia Edlinger from Vienna," an attribution for which, however, no source or documentation is given, making independent verification impossible. This attribution is therefore reproduced here merely as a hypothesis, but one that is considered rather implausible. The attribution to Amalia Edlinger seems implausible for two reasons: first, Amalia Edlinger was already married in 1908 and the portrait would certainly have been labeled Amalia/Amelie Schrantz/Schranz and not with the sitter's maiden name. Second, there is a portrait of Amalie Schranz that Adams made and exhibited in 1912 (lost, see cross-references) and a double depiction of the same person is rare with Adams.

Based on the alleged attribution and dating, the sitter could be Amalia (later: Amelie) Schrantz, née Edlinger, 5.4.1877 Vienna to 21.1.1954 Vienna.
She was the daughter of the textile industrialist Ferdinand Edlinger (1844-1932) and Amalia/Amalie E. (1849-1928), née Wech. Her parents were great supporters of the construction of the Sacred Heart Basilica in Kaisermühlen, which was inaugurated in 1895, a ceremony attended by Emperor Franz Josef I. in person. On this occasion, young Amalia presented him a bouquet of flowers. (The parents also donated a stained glass window for the Maria Hilf Church in Vienna VI.) On October 20, 1902, Amalia Edlinger married the industrial magnate Alfred Friedrich Schrantz (1876-1914, also the spelling Schranz exists) in the Evangelical AB Church in Vienna. He was president of Huetter & Schrantz AG, which was founded in 1824 and still exists today. Alfred Schrantz ended his life in 1914. Between 1919/1925, Amalia Schrantz remarried the Hungarian Count Georg Orssich and henceforth called herself Amelie Orssich. Press reports testify to difficulties in adapting to the new economic and social circumstances, which were accompanied by a series of court cases, but the lifestyle of the couple remained upper middle-class with staff, villa in Hiezing as well as city apartment in the IV district. Amelie Orssich died on 21.1.1954 and is buried in the Edlinger family crypt in Vienna Hietzing.

The present portrait is typical for Adams in the time before the First World War. The need for representation of the aspiring upper bourgeoisie is reflected in the clothing and jewelry of the portrayed, as well as feudal residential interior (staged in Adams' studio at Theresianumgasse 5). The depiction, however, remains "bourgeois" in comparison to Adam's later glamorous portraits of ladies. Only the sweep of the coat, which the sitter is about to remove, lends the portrait an interesting dynamic element in an otherwise rather static portrait. 1908 marked Adams' breakthrough as a portrait painter: his portrait of the art and science patron Johann II Prince Liechtenstein, commissioned by the city of Vienna, attracted great public attention and recognition. Accordingly, Adam's fees also increased. In this respect, the attribution to Amalia Schrantz and her family background (both father and husband were industrialists, respectively big industrialists and are listed for 1910 by Sandgruber Traumzeit für Milliadäre, 2013, as the 788th and 137th richest Viennese by income tax) can be considered plausible.




1908-1954? The sitter and her family.
Unknown private collection (USA?).
2.7.2011 Auction Auktionshaus Geble, Germany.
Unknown private collection.