Antonie Princess Reuss 1924
¾ Portrait in seated position in left side oblique view, looking left into the distance. The sitter is wearing a gray silk skirt and a light yellow silk blouse with sheer sleeves, over which she wears a dark brown fur stole that has slipped back from her shoulders. She wears around her neck a single row pearl necklace with pearl clasp, as well as a long necklace of small pearls, which she embraces with her hands in her lap, furthermore on her left arm a golden bracelet and on her ring finger a delicate gold ring with a gemstone. Background suggests a stylized landscape, but is executed largely in flat dark gray, which is structured only by brushstrokes.
Oil on canvas 125 x 90 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1924
Private collection Austria.
Antonia/Antonie (Emma Elisabeth) Princess Reuss, née Countess Castell-Castell, 18.4.1896 Castell, Germany to 4.5.1971 Ernstbrunn, Austria. Mother of six children.
Antonie was born in 1896 as the eldest child of Friedrich Karl 1st Prince zu Castell-Castell (1864-1923) and Gertrud, née zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (1872-1924) in Castell, where she also spent her youth. On 10.4.1918 her engagement to Heinrich XXXIX Reuss zu Köstritz was announced. The marriage took place on 7.8.1918 in Vienna. The marriage is one of the many connections between the Reuss, Castell, and Stolberg families. The couple Heinrich and Antonia was blessed with a total of 6 children, born in 1919, 1922, 1923, 1924, as well as 1927 and 1931. Due to her numerous pregnancies, Antonia probably led a rather secluded life, especially at Ernstbrunn Castle. Participation in social events and charitable events in Vienna are rarely documented (among others, concert of the Museum Friends Vienna 1926, hunting party at Princess Collalto 1930, festive academy of the First Protestant Support Association for Children 1934) and also her travels were limited to regular visits to Köstritz Castle in Thuringia and spa stays in Karlovy Vary. This quiet aristocratic life came to an end with the Second World War. In 1942, her second son Heinrich VI was killed at Stalingrad, and in 1946, her husband Heinrich XXXIX died of cancer at the age of only 54. The estates in Thuringia and Köstritz Castle were expropriated in 1946 and Ernstbrunn Castle was under Soviet administration until 1955 and was largely devastated when it was returned. It was only after initial renovation work, which even today has not been fully completed, that it was again habitable to some extent. The Hagenberg estate and castle, which also belonged to the Reuss estate, was also lost. The grounds had to be sold in 1959, the castle (in which an artists' colony of the Viennese Group, including Friedensreich Hundertwasser, had rented rooms) in 1974.
Antonie remained a resident of Ernstbrunn Castle until the end of her life in 1971. She is buried at the Evangelical Cemetery Ernstbrunn.
The Adams Portrait of Antonie Princess Reuss, although a late work, is rooted entirely in the tradition of the representative aristocratic portrait. The social rank, by now only historical due to the abolition of the nobility in Austria in 1919, is presented in clothing and jewelry and in a rather sovereign pose, but at the same time the person is depicted in a pleasantly human way through the dreamy gaze of the sitter. Antonie's beauty is captivating in the portrait and is superior to contemporary photographs; the resemblance to her mother Gertrud is striking (see cross-references). The portrait was probably created in Adam's studio in Vienna, but was never publicly exhibited during the lifetime of the portrayed. It was not until 1986, on the occasion of the Adams exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, that the portrait could be viewed publicly for the first time. It remains in the family's possession, but is on semi-public display at the Con Anima Music Days at Ernstbrunn Castle, which continue the Reuss musical tradition.
Cross-referencesDr. Heinrich XXXIX Price Reuss (husband) 1925
1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Viennese Society in Portrait #51.
Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, Exhibition catalogue #51 (B/W Ill.)
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 189, cat.#156, ill. 104 (B/W)
Her family descendants,
private collection Austria.