Hilda von Auersperg 1924


Three-quarter portrait in sitting position, profile view from the left, body and view turned to the viewer, against a stylized landscape background. Her right hand rests on her thigh, her left hand holds the seat. She has short brown hair.The sitter wears a sleeveless blue silk dress with round neckline, over it a transparent white chiffon, over her lower legs a blue coat with fur collar; she wears a pearl ring on the ring finger of her left hand.

JQAW# P_1924_010
Oil on canvas 125 x 88 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1924
Private collection Austria.

Hildegard Karoline Johanna Maria "Hilda", née von Auersperg (11.6.1895 Vienna to 18.11.1981 Vermont, USA). 1st marriage (1922) to Dr. Otto von Pollak-Parnegg (1878-1937); 2nd marriage (1928) to Auguste Olympe Hériot (1886-1951); 3rd marriage (1946) to Luis Nathaniel Rothschild (1882-1951).

Coming from an old aristocratic family, Hilda Auersperg cared little for aristocratic conventions, which found expression in her multiple - and from an aristocratic point of view improper - marriages. Two of her husbands were ennobled Jews, one a French department store (Grands Magasins du Louvre) heir and boxer. What her husbands had in common was their (great) wealth and their willingness not only to accept but also to finance an alternative and glamorous lifestyle for their spouse. In 1924 Hilda was married Baroness von Pollak-Parnegg, a family with whom Adams was acquainted (and painted 2 female portraits: Gisela Groedel, née Pollak-Parnegg, in 1908, and Ella Pollak-Parnegg in 1923). The Hadersdorf moated castle in Vienna served as her residence. With her 2nd husband (who, after an unhappy love affair with the famous [courtesan] Colette, was probably happy to leave Paris), Hilda moved into a completely contrary but no less spectacular domicile in the Prater Cottage: the Villa Hériot, built and furnished in 1931 in the Bauhaus style (with indoor swimming pool with underwater lighting, fencing hall, etc.). This marriage also ended in divorce in 1938, and after Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany, Hilda emigrated to the U.S., where she married another Viennese émigré in 1946: Luis Nathaniel Rothschild, who was released into exile only after a lengthy GESTAPO imprisonment. They lived at Ellis Farm in Vermont.

In 1947 Hilda brought her possessions that had remained in Vienna to the USA (BDA export Zl 272/47 GZ 3489/47), including an Adams portrait of Luis Nathaniel Rothschild also from 1924 (lost), which suggests a closer connection between the two already in Vienna at the time when she was Baroness Pollak-Parnegg. The Adams portrait of Hilda, however, remained in Austria, where it still delights visitors to the Auersperg castle, which has been converted into a hotel.


11.2022 - 3.2023 Atelier Bauhaus Wien. Wien Museum MUSA, Vienna.



Descendants of her Auersperg family.
Private collection Austria.