General Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli 1915
Head portrait en face looking at the viewer. The general, almost bald with black moustache, wears the blue uniform jacket of the general staff uniform with general rank sign. Background: gray coloration around the head portrait, the rest of the canvas in its white raw state.
Oil on canvas 82 x 60 cm
Signature: J. Q. Ɑdams 4. VII. 15.
Under the portrait handwritten signature of the portrayed Böhm Ermolli GI
Herresgeschichliches Museum Vienna Inv.Nr. KBI149 Bez.Nr.2975/2007
Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli 12.2. 1856 Ancona to 9.12.1941 Troppau, officer, field marshal and army commander in World War I. See also his entry in the OeBL (in German) and on wikipedia (in English).
Son of Georg Böhm, an officer who was nobilitated in 1885 and on that occasion adopted the double name Böhm-Ermolli (after his wife Maria Josepha, née Ermolli). Eduard von B-E went through a classic k.u.k. military career: graduation from the Theresian Military Academy, 1875 dragoon lieutenant, general staff officer, 1897 colonel and commander of an Ulan regiment, 1903 major general, 1907 field marshal lieutenant, and finally 1912 general of cavalry. At the outbreak of World War I, B-E became army commander of the 2nd Army. Missions in Serbia, then in Gallicia (defense of Lemberg/Lviv, which was lost), then missions in Poland and the Carpathians. In 1915, he returned with his troops to Galicia and recaptured Lemberg/Lviv. In 1916 he was promoted to colonel general, and in 1917 succeeded (with German help) in recapturing Cernowitz. In August 1917 he received the highest military order of the monarchy (Commander's Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa and with it the elevation to the rank of baron). In January 1918 he was appointed Imperial and Royal Field Marshal. His last mission was the occupation of the Ukraine for the ruthless requisitioning of food. In May 1918 he was relieved of his post and his army group in Odessa was disbanded. B-E then retreated to Troppau (Sudetenland). For a general and army commander of a defunct empire and a lost war, B-E was treated very honorably after 1918. Living in Troppau (now in the Czechoslovak Republic), he received a pension and was appointed General of the Czech Army (but never did active duty). After the annexation of the Sudetenland to Germany, he was appointed Field Marshal General of the German Army in 1940. He died in 1941 in Troppau, where he was also buried.
The Boehm-Ermolli portrait of Adams is one of the most widely distributed works from WWI by the artist, reproduced many times, often exhibited and also distributed as an art postcard. The oil sketch was made in Lemberg (according to the dating 4.7.1915) after the recapture (22.6.1915) of the city probably in Böhm-Ermolli's headquarters, whereas the battle painting "Böhm-Ermolli before Lemberg" (see its catalog entry) was begun in the field before the conquest and was probably completed afterwards in the studio in Vienna. The portrait documents the strength of the artist in the field to work quickly and giving an immediate impression.
Cross-referencesBöhm-Ermolli before Lemberg/Lviv 1915
1915 Vienna Künstlerhaus (KH) (EL Vol 60 #1237)
1916 Budapest (#4), Berlin (#1718), Prag (#8)
1917 Vienna KH (EL Vol 61 #528)
1934 Vienna KH (EL Vol 87 #2045)
1961 WVienna HGM #25
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 136, cat.#104, fig.#75.
From the artist to War Press Quarters and to k.u.k. Army Museum Vienna.
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Vienna Inv.Nr. KBI149 Bez.Nr. 2975/2007