Böhm-Ermolli before Lemberg/Lviv 1915

for description s. below.

Oil on canvass, dimensions unknown.
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams with illegible addition.
Original lost, art postcard reproduction.

Army commander von Böhm-Ermolli stands surrounded by officers on a hill, studying a map. Behind this group of figures stands a group of officers around an automobile, on whose fender a map is spread out. Behind them is a waving flag with a black cross on a yellow background. The hill is bare and lined with relics of the battle: emplacement buildings, broken wagon wheels, wire entanglement barriers. In the background cavalry troops descending the hill, behind them a wide green landscape; on the horizon houses above which two black clouds of smoke are rising.

This war painting, painted by Adams on the occasion of the recapture of Lemberg in Galicia (now Lviv, Ukraine) in June 1915, shows General of Cavalry and Commander of the 2nd Army Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli (1856-1941) surrounded by soldiers and officers in the midst of battle. At the 1917 exhibition, as well as in the k.u.k. Army Museum, it was referred to as "Böhm-Ermolli before Lemberg". In the postcard reproduction, the title is "The 2nd Army High Command at the fallen plant Rzesna Ruska" (northwest of Lemberg/Lviv). A propagandistic effect is pursued by the calm, sovereign attitude of the participants, but without completely concealing the horrors of war. The picture was created shortly before the recapture of Lemberg (on 22.6.1915), but was probably completed later in Adam's Vienna studio. A postcard with handwritten names of the persons shown has been preserved in the collection of the Velké Losiny Chateau (CZ) with inv.no. VL8495. According to it, the people shown are the following. In the center, holding a map: army commander [Eduard von] Böhm-Ermolli (for his biography see his catalogue entry and on wikipedia); to his left, also holding the map: Colonel Bardolf; to the right behind Böhm-Ermolli (with Tschapka helmet): Count Fürstenberg; to the right of Böhm-Ermolli with his back to the viewer (in brown field coat and red shuttle): Count Paul Wurmbrand (called Pauksel); and standing at the automobile in side view and in red pants: Count Andrassy.

The Adams painting was widely distributed and used for propaganda purposes. In addition to this work, Adams also produced a portrait oil sketch of Böhm-Ermolli, which was also widely published and is preserved in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien (see its catalog entry - cross-references). The "Böhm-Ermolli before Lemberg" painting remained in the Museum of Military History in Vienna until 1945. Since then it has been lost, listed by the museum as a war loss, since it was either destroyed by bombing in 1945 or lost through looting.

Cross-references

Portrait Böhm-Ermolli 1915

Exhibited

1916 Vienna Künstlerhaus (KH) (EL Vol 60 1915/16 #1237).
1916 Budapest (#4), Berlin (#1718), Prag (#8).
1917 Vienna KH (EL Vol 61 #528).
1961 Vienna HGM #25.

Literature

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 128, cat.#94, fig.#67.

Provenance

From the artist to k.u.k. Army Museum Vienna.
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM) Vienna KBI151.
1945 lost (destruction or looting).

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