The 7 executioners 1904
Lost large painting (see description of the picture from contemporary sources below)
Oil on canvas. 172 x 300 cm.
"In front of a painting (nude study of a young girl), held by the servant Artur Pretsch, the members of the jury of the Vienna Künstlerhaus, Egger-Lienz, Wilda, Temple, Kinzl, Tomec, Schram and Veith [stand] in red gowns". Life-size 3/4 portraits. Canvass, signed Adams 1904 (Catalog 350th Art Auction Dorotheum Vienna 9.4. 1924 Lot 1 , p.5.)
"With a lot of humor are painted (by John Quincy Adams) the cruel 'executioners', the exhibition jury: painter Kinzel with the axe on the bloody block, then Baron Merode, Schram, Veith, Tomec, Egger-Lienz and Koch [ Note: in red gowns] who are about to decide on the inclusion of a Secessionist-inspired female portrait, which Arthur, the faithful servant, puts on the easel." (Neues Wiener Tagblatt February 6, 1904, p.7.)
The painting ironically comments on the practice and participants of the Künstlerhaus Commission, which decided whether to admit works to an exhibition. The painting is probably a humorous allusion to a conflict over the admission of the painting "die Kirschpflückerin" (the [nude] cherry picker) by Josef Engelhart (1864 - 1941), whose rejection for "moral reasons" by a prudish admissions commission in 1893 was often cited as one of the reasons (there were many others, see Aichelburg, 2003, pp. 295-313) that led to the secession of Gustav Klimt's group of artists from the Künstlerhaus in 1897/1898 and the founding of the Secession. (The controversial painting was nevertheless exhibited in 1894 and even reproduced in the catalog). The 7 executioners were painted as decoration for the Künstlerhaus Gschnas Fest (costume ball) 1904, which was held under the motto "Art Walks", and hung in the entrance hall (Stiftersaal) in a satirized "ancestral gallery". It is lost ever since the Dorotheum auction of 1924. For comparison, see the decoration Adams made for the Gschnasfest in 1908, which survived in the cellar of the Künstlerhaus until 1992, before it too was auctioned off (see cross-references).
Neues Wiener Tagblatt February 6, 1904, p.7.
Vladimir Aichelburg, Das Wiener Künstlerhaus 1861-2001. Österr. Kunst- und Kulturverlag, Vienna 2003.
Vladimir Aichelburg. Das Wiener Künstlerhaus, chapter Feste.
350th Art Auction Dorotheum Vienna 9.4. 1924 Lot 1. Unknown.