Iphigenie Buchmann-Castiglioni 1929

Full body portrait in standing position in a baroque pageboy costume (Rosenkavalier motif). The sitter is standing by an antique column with her right hand resting on the base of the column. She wears knee breeches, stockings, a richly decorated vest and an overcoat embroidered with floral patterns on the lapels and cuffs, a lace cravat at her neck, a baroque wig with curls and a braid tied by a stitch, and a rapier held with her left hand. In the background a stone parapet, over the right edge of which is draped a textile coverlet reaching to the ground. In the background an indicated park landscape.

JQAW# P_1929_020
Oil on canvas 215 x 128 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1929
Private collection, Canada
Photo B/W: Künstlerhaus Archive, Vienna
(for color photo see cross-references).

Iphigenie Buchmann, married Castiglioni, remarried Kinskey, 23.8.1895 Mödling to 30.7.1963 Los Angeles USA, a star in Vienna and Hollywood.
Iphigenie Buchmann, daughter of a Viennese dentist, was engaged at the Hofburg Theater in 1912 at the age of 17 while still a student at the drama academy to play the role of Cleopatra in George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. After this spectacular debut, however, she only played smaller roles and appeared in charity events. In 1915 she resigned from the Hofburg Theater to become engaged to Camillo Castiglioni (marriage in 1916). With him she had two daughters Jolanda and Livia (as well as a stepson Arturo from a previous Castiglioni marriage).

Camillo Castiglioni was a colorful and controversial personality (described by one biographer as a "shark", see literature). Already a wealthy financier in 1916, he earned a fortune after the war in the hyperinflationary period in the disarmament of the Imperial and Royal Army. During the hyperinflationary period he amassed a widespread business empire. However, his financial fortune began to decline rapidly as a result of reckless (foreign exchange) speculative transactions. In 1926 he signed over to Iphigenie their castle-like villa on the shore of lake Grundlsee in order to take it away from his creditors (Iphigenie probably sold it without his consent in 1937 to a Swiss businessman; towards the end of the war Adolf Hitler's private library was stored there). In May 1935 Castiglioni's Viennese palace (Miller-Aichholz) with the art collection was seized and put up for auction by Haus Glückselig, including the Adams portrait (the second most expensive lot of the auction [2000 Schilling] after the car at 6000 Schilling), which was however redeemed before the auction and thus remained in Camillo Castiglioni's possession (Iphigenie was already in Hollywood by then).

The financial difficulties probably also prompted Iphigenie Buchmann's return to the theater (Josefstadt) in 1934. In 1935, Iphigenie Castiglioni traveled with Max Reinhard to the U.S., where she remained after the end of the guest performance and made a series of films in Hollywood (and changed her birth year from 1895 to 1901). Noteworthy film roles were that of Empress Eugenie in the 1936 film "The Story of Luis Pasteur," and (in a minor role) in Hitchcock's "Rear Window" in 1954. She divorced Camillo Castiglioni in 1940 without his knowing (he was hiding in a monastery in Italy to escape the Nazis), and remarried in 1943 actor Leonid Kinskey (who played the Russian bartender Sasha in the 1942 film Casablanca.) Iphigenie died in Los Angeles in 1963 and is buried in the "Forever Hollywood" cemetery.

The Adams portrait of Iphigenia Castiglioni cites the Rosenkavalier motif to present Iphigenia Cstiglioni's much-described beauty, who according to press reports cared relatively little for jewelry and expensive clothes, in a new and interesting context. Perhaps the "roaring 1920's" and the turbulence that hit Austria and the Castiglionis were also cause for nostalgic recollection of the baroque era cited in the portrait. The photo of the painting from the Künstlerhaus archive was not identified. The assignment to Iphigenie Buchmann was made according to a newspaper article describing the painting at the Glückselig auction (der Morgen 14.10.1935, p.10), as well as the Setzer portrait photo (see cross-references), which Adams faithfully copied in his portrait. The color scheme chosen by Adams (see cross-references) is dominated by brown tones. The portrait thus adopts Whistler's tone-on-tone color concept, which Adams consistently applied in his late works.

The provenance of the painting is as adventurous as the life of Iphigenie Buchmann-Castiglioni-Kinskey. The painting was owned by Camillo Castiglioni, who rescued it from foreclosure in 1935. In 1937 Castiglioni, harassed by his creditors, had to leave Austria in flight; the portrait remained behind and was probably kept with friends or loyal collaborators. During the bombing of Vienna at the end of the Second World War, the painting was stored in the cellars of the Vienna City Hall, where it was found by Iphigenie on the occasion of a visit to Vienna and taken to the USA. After her death, the painting passed to her family descendants in North America, where it remains.



APH, Werksverzeichnis JQA 1995, p. 178, Cat.#45, no ill. (there incorrectly dated 1921).

N. Zähringer, book review of Reinhard Schlüter's Der Haifisch. Die Welt 22.8.2015


1929-1935 Camillo Castiglioni Vienna.
1935 Auction Glückselig 21.10.1935 Lot 1495 (was withdrawn from the auction).
1935-1937 Camillo Castiglioni Vienna.
1937-1945 in storage with unknown in Vienna.
After 1945 to 1963 the sitter, private collection USA.
Thereafter her family descendents,
private collection Canada.