Ferdinand Nándor Prince Montenuovo 1911


Full-length portrait in hunting costume, in open landscape, in the background snow-covered mountains. The sitter with sparse upper lip beard, shown from the side in a striding posture, his gaze turned towards the viewer. Clothing and equipment: Styrian hunting clothes with knee-length leather trousers, socks, jacket, hat with wide hatband and a tuft of chamois hair decoration. His hunting rifle is shouldered horizontally with barrel facing forward, he is holding a hunting stick in the crook of his left elbow and shoulder, and wears a backpack on his back.

JQAW# P_1911_030
Oil on canvas, 198 x 109 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1911 (according to inventory in the Montenuovo family archive)
Painting lost.
Illustration: Westermanns Monatshefte 1913 p.93

Ferdinand/Nándor (Bonaventura Franz Alfred Wilhelm Erwin Maximilian Maria) Prince Montenuovo, 29.5.1888 Margarethen am Moos to 2.5.1951 Szob; officer and Hungarian member of the upper house of parliament, k.u.k. Chamberlain, Hungarian privy councilor.
Son of Alfred (1854-1927) Prince Montenuovo and Franziska Maria (1861-1935) Princess Montenuovo, née Countess Kinsky von Wchnitz und Tettau. From September 1927 last (3rd) Prince Montenuovo. The Montenuovos have been extinct in the male line since 1951. They descended from Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, first married to Napoleon Bonaparte and in 2nd marriage to Adam Adalbert Count Neipperg, Italianized as Montenuovo. Due to the successes in the Battle of Komorn (Hungarian War of Independence 1848-49), Ferdinand's grandfather Wilhelm Albrecht of Montenuovo (1821-1895) and his descendants were elevated to hereditary princely status in 1864. The plan to further strengthen the connection with the imperial house through an engagement of Prince Ferdinand to Archduchess Alice in 1910, which was reported in the foreign press, did not come to fruition.

Unlike his father, Nándor/Ferdinand chose Hungary as the center of his life. On 8.11.1927 he married Ilona Baroness Solymosy de Loós és Egervár (1895-1988) in Budapest; the marriage produced 3 daughters (Juliana, Maria and Franziska). During the 1st World War he served as a first lieutenant in the Hussar Regiment No.9 and received several decorations. He was K.u.k. chamberlain, Hungarian Privy Councillor, as well as a member of the upper house of the Hungarian Parliament, where at times he opposed the anti-Semitic policies of the Reichsversweser Miklós Horthy (see his Adams portrait). From 1921 he founded a model agricultural farm of 10,000 hectares on his estates around Bóly Castle (where there is also the remarkable mausoleum of the Batthyány and Montenuovo families, initiated by Ferdinand's grandmother Juliana Princess Montenuovo née Countess Bathyány and built by her son Alfred Prince Montenuovo). In 1944, after the fall of the Horthy regime, he was arrested by the fascist Hungarian "Arrow Cross" brigades and imprisoned in the concentration camps of Sopronkőhida and Dachau (as a so-called "honorary prisoner" of the SS), but later released. Expropriated in 1945 except for 100 ha of land, he was arrested again in 1950 on flimsy grounds (illegal possession of weapons in the form of historical hunting rifles) and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died on 02.05.1951 in the prison in Szob, his body was reburied in the family mausoleum in Bóly in 1966. His family fled to Margarethen am Moos in the course of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. His daughter Juliana Máthe, née Montenuovo, achieved the rehabilitation of her father after the fall of the "Iron Curtain".

The portrait of the young Ferdinand Montenuovo as a hunter in Styrian costume is an iconic representation that Adams later revisited several times in other portraits (see cross-references). The portrait was probably created due to the friendly relations of the two sports enthusiasts (winter as well as automobile sports). Joint participation in the legendary Künstlerhaus parties (1908 and 1909), balls (1909-1913), bobsleigh races (1911) and equestrian events (1909-1913) are documented by press reports. The signature and dating of the portrait of the 22-year-old as 1911 follow the surviving records in the Montenuovo inventory books. The picture remained in the family and is still documented in the 1920/1930s at the castle in Margarethen am Moos. It was probably lost from the castle during the turmoil of war or under the Russian occupation after 1945, being either destroyed or looted. Only a b/w reproduction from the Westermanns Monatshefte from 1913 remains as documentation of this iconic portrait.




APH, catalog raisonné JQA p.117, cat#85, fig.59.

Arthur Roessler, 1913, John Quincy Adams, Westermanns Monatshefte 115th volume part 1, September-November 1913, p.93.


Family of the sitter until ca. 1938, Austria.
Destroyed or looted in 1939-45 or thereafter.
Painting lost.