¾ Portrait in sitting posture, legs crossed, viewed in an angle from the right, the head and view turned towards the viewer. The sitter wears a black suit with tie and sits in an olive green club chair with his arms resting on the backrests. He has on the forehead thinning hair and wears a moustache. Background of the picture: on the left an indicated bookcase, on the right a writing desk, on it a richly decorated cassette, a telephone, three envelopes, a silver desk lamp with glass bead fringes on the shade and an oval miniature portrait of a lady in a square frame, behind it a brown wall, on which an indicated picture is partially visible.
Ernst Regenhart 07.04.1849 Vienna to 5.4.1920, Breslau (Wrocław, PL); co-owner and manager of Regenhart & Raymann Vienna, the leading table linen manufacturer and court supplier of the monarchy.
The Regenharts are a merchant dynasty descending from Johann Jakob R., who immigrated from Bavaria and settled in Perchtoldsdorf in 1774. Ernst Regenhart was born in Vienna, the son of Alois (II) Regenhart. Ernst R.'s grandfather (Alois I) and great uncle (Jakob) had founded a company for canvas production with Adolf Raymann in Freiwaldau (Jeseník, CZ) in 1819. In 1845 the company was granted the right to use the imperial eagle and the title "imperial&royal privileged". Distribution was carried out in Vienna by the Regenharts. Ernst Regenhart joined the company in 1870 after studies in Germany and England and took over the management of the Vienna house in 1871. In 1873, the two branches were united under the name Regenhart & Raymann. His younger brother Alois (III) took over production in Freiwaldau after the death of Adolf Raymann Junior. The two brothers led the company to prosperity at the turn of the century with 2500 workers. In 1914 there were 900 mechanical looms. The main turnover was generated with table linen, which went to the Austrian imperial court and many other well-to-do households. Ernst Regenhart succeeded in establishing worldwide sales on all five continents through extensive travel and the establishment of a large network of representatives. He was also decisive in the selection of designs. This came to an end during the First World War. On April 12, 1882, Ernst married Louise Isbary in Vienna-Hietzing, who gave him his son Erwin, who, together with his cousin Oskar, led the company through the difficult period after the First World War. Ernst and Louise built the Bergvilla in Freiwaldau as their residence, which today houses the hotel Villa Regenhart. He was listed as the 238th richest Viennese in 1910 with an annual income of 268,000 crowns (Roman Sandgruber, 2013). Ernst Regenhart died in Breslau on April 5, 1920 after a short, serious illness. He was buried in Freiwaldau. His wife followed him on 9.8.1934.
The portrait of the successful businessman Ernst Regenhart was made by Adams in 1907. The occasion was the 25th wedding anniversary of Ernst and Luise Regenhart, who is likely referred to in the oval miniature on the desk. Ernst Regenhart thus continued a family tradition: already his great uncle Jakob Regenhart had himself and his wife Anna portrayed by a leading Viennese artist, Anton Einsle in 1852/1853, works that are now in the Belvedere Vienna (purchased in 1963 by the Perchtoldsdorf family descendants of the Regenharts). The portrait of Ernst Regenhart has some special features, especially the view from the right, which is rather rare in Adam's portraits, and the detailed background of the picture, which is largely identical to the portrait of Max Friedmann from 1908 (see cross-references). The painting was publicly exhibited at the Vienna Künstlerhaus in 1907 (KH EL 1907/08 #1914) and was insured for 4000 crowns. The Regenhart couple also made a generous donation of 40,000 crowns to the establishment of a social institution in Freiwaldau to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary (Der Bautechniker 1907, p. 1023); the newly built orphanage was then opened by Luise Regenhart in 1912 (Der Bautechniker 1912, p. 894). The Regenhart family was expropriated and expelled after 1945. The picture, which was in the family villa, was left behind and is now in the Freiwaldau Museum of Local History (Vlastivědné muzeum Jesenicka), but not in the permanent exhibition. The frame of the painting, however, is not the original frame from the 1907 exhibition at the Künstlerhaus; which is (with the Ernst Regenhart exhibition sticker on the back) for unexplained reasons with a portrait-format painting of a lady by Adams, also from 1907, which is being offered in the online art trade in the USA in 2021. The two frames appear identical, although the Jeseník frame has lost some of its corner embellishments.
Catalogue entry biography: Peter Schenk; all other: the editor (AG).
Cross-referencesMax Friedmann 1908
1907 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 1907/08 #1914).
2019 Regenhart & Raymann Exhibition, Vlastivědné muzeum Jesenicka, CZ.
1920-1945 His family descendants,
Vlastivědné muzeum Jesenicka HJE 16398.