Irene Mandl ca.1908
Three-quarter portrait seated and in pensive pose; right arm resting on upholstered club chair, left arm resting on her knee. Dressed in purple silk dress combined with white blouse (forearms uncovered) and with a white chiffon scarf. Large hat decorated with purple flowers. In the background indicated interior with a wall tapestry.
Oil on canvas 135 x 151 cm (frame size)
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams? (hard to discearn)
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington New Zealand Reg.#2015-0018-1
Irene Mandl (17.5.1868 - 4.5.1920 Vienna), née Mandl, wife of gynecologist and university professor Ludwig Mandl (19.8.1872 Iasi, RO - 23.9.1937 Vienna).
The Viennese Mandl family consisted of two branches: Physicians and industrialists (arms and ammunition manufacturers, especially the Hirtenberg cartridge factory). (A third branch of the Mandl family lived in New Zealand after 1860, see cross-references). The marriage of cousins Irene and Ludwig Mandl, in turn, united the two Viennese branches of the family and is a pattern frequently observed in the Jewish bourgeoisie of Vienna at the time (most pronounced within the Rothschild family). The medical branch of the Mandls produced a number of distinguished physicians and scientists, of whom Ludwig Mandl is the best known. From the (wealthier) industrial branch of the Mandls, the best known member (a generation later) is Fritz Mandl (1900-1977), an influential arms supplier to Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy and husband of film actress Hedwig Eva Maria "Hedy" Kiesler (1914-2000), who separated from Fritz in 1937 and emigrated via London to Hollywood. There she became known as Hedy Lamarr, famous as a movie star and inventor of "frequency hopping," a basic technology for all of today's cell phones and Bluetooth devices).
The children and grandchildren of Irene and Ludwig Mandl were racially persecuted and had to leave Austria in 1939 and emigrated to New Zealand. They took the Adams portrait with them. A grandson of the sitter (Dr. Tom Farra) donated the painting to the Te Papa Museum New Zealand. Irene Mandl's portrait is probably identical to the Adams painting "Portrait of Mrs. Prof. M." that was exhibited at the Vienna Künstlerhaus in 1908 (KH EL Vol. 51 1907/08 #3225, private collection, insurance value 7000 Kr.).
Ms. Mandl strikes a confident but pensive pose (one common in portraiture) and her attention is engaged with, but does not confront, the viewer. The poise, elegance, and also her intelligence and membership in an elite intellectual/technical class is convincingly conveyed. The style and flamboyance of her hat and dress mirrors comparable works by Sargent (e.g. The Acheson Sisters), and the painting is probably also an allusion to the pre-revolutionary 18th century golden age of Maria Theresa and her daughter Marie Antoinette".
Catalog entry: Mark Stoker, Te Papa Museum, New Zealand.
Her family descendants.
2014 donation to Te Papa Museum New Zealand Reg.#2015-0018-1.