Dr. Alphons Baron Rothschild 1915

Half portrait in gray-brown field uniform (Rittmeister rank) and field cap, on the chest a medal (Miltärverdienstkreuz); portrayed in a sitting position with bent forearms, his upper body turned half-left, his head turned right, looking directly at the viewer; with glasses (nose pincher with oval lenses) and a moustache; background abstract.

JQAW# P_1915_070
Oil on canvas 85 x 56 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Bozen 4.XI. 15. - above Tyrolean eagle
Private collection USA.
Photo: © Momentosphere by Tobias de St. Julien

Dr. Alphons Mayer Rothschild (15.2.1878 Vienna - 1.9.1942 Bar Harbor, USA). Second oldest son of Albert Salomon "Salbert" and Bettina Caroline (née Rothschild - she was Albert's cousin) Rothschild.

After his older brother Dr. Georg Rothschild suffered from schizophrenia and spent almost his entire life in closed institutions, Alphons was originally intended to be his father's successor in the Rothschild family business, a task he (as well as his brother Eugen, 1924 married with "Kitty" Wolff/Schönborn/Rothschild) rejected, following his private interests ("Philology, Philately, Hippophilia" Sandgruber, 2018, p. 412) as a private scholar (classical philologist with an exceptional specialized library), stamp collector, and racing stable owner instead. (The business of the House of Rothschild was thereafter conducted by his brother Luis, married in 1946 to Hilda née Auersperg, married Pollak-Parnegg/Hériot/Rothschild, virtually as a side activity to his private sport hobbies such as polo, which in difficult times also promoted the economic decline of the Viennese Rothschild house). Alphons, his son Albert, Kitty, Hilda, as well as Louis Rothschild were all portrayed by Adams.

Alphons R. was married to Clarisse, née Sebag-Montefiore and had three children (Albert, Bettina, and Gwendoline). During World War I, he and his brother Eugen served in the prestigious k.u.k. Dragoon Regiment No. 6; both received decorations. At the time of the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, he was abroad (London) and then rushed to join his seriously ill son Albert in Switzerland. After Albert's tragic early death, Alphons and Clarisse emigrated with their daughters to the United States, where Alphons soon died (1942) in Bar Harbor, Maine, a broken man.

The portrait, painted in Bozen/Bolzano in 1915, is already groundbreaking for the artist's late phase due to its expressive brushwork and tone-on-tone design (uniform - background). It is likely the only painting of a member of the Rothschild family in field uniform and thus also confronts anti-Semitic prejudices that were widespread during the First World War (and afterwards).


1917 Künstlerhaus Wien collective exhibition John Quincy Adams No. 13 (EL 61 1916/17 #540)

1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Vienna Society in Portrait, catalog no. 40.

2021/2022 Jewish Museum Vienna, Exhibition The Viennese Rothschilds.


Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #40 (b/w ill.)

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 138, cat.#106, ill.#77.

Roman Sandgruber, Rotschild - Glanz und Untergang des Wiener Welthauses, Molden, Vienna, 2018.


Dr. Alphons and Clarisse Rothschild, Austria, USA.
Bettina Looram (née Rothschild), Austria, USA (daughter).
Her heirs, USA.