Major of the Tyrolian Kaiserjäger 1915


Half-length portrait en face, head to the left, looking into the distance. The major in field grey uniform decorated with three medals: Military Cross of Merit (breast), Order of the Iron Crown and the German Iron Cross (on the lapel). The major's head is uncovered, he wears an upper lip beard.

JQAW# P_1915_080
Oil on canvas 83 x 56 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Bozen 1915.
Unknown private collection.
Illustration: B/W illustration Dorotheum auction catalog 14.3.1998 lot 206.

This portrait full of character shows strong parallels to the portrait of Dr. Alphons Rothschild from the time and place of its creation (Bolzano 1915) as well as from the viewpoint of formal execution. It shows an unknown major of the Tyrolean Kaiserjägerschützen, likely from the III. Regiment. Despite extensive literature (Schemsil, 1926), an identification of the major is practically impossible without further clues. In the year in question, 1915, 7 officers in the rank of major served with the III. Kaiserjäger Regiment (field battalion no. in parentheses), namely (in alphabetical order): Karl Freiherr von Busche (2nd), Franz Graf (1st), Amand Jourez (2nd, 3rd), Victor Ritter von Kourovsky (3rd), Richard Michalek (1st), August Planiscig (3rd), and Julius Ullmann (3rd, Reserve Major, painter, 1861-1918). With the exception of the landscape painter Julius Ullmann (whose age [54] does not fit the present portrait), no biographical data exist on these officers to attempt an attribution to the portrait. (It should be noted that in addition to Ullmann, another painter actively served with the Kaiserjäger: Captain i.R. Hugo von Bouvard).

The present portrait was not documented in the Adams literature or in the Künstlerhausarchiv records until the 1998 auction. It is possible that the portrait is part of a series of officer portraits that were exhibited at the Vienna Künstlerhaus in 1917 (EL 61 1916/17 #547) as "Officers of the III. Kaiserjäger Regiment" but remained unsold. However, according to the Dorotheum, there was no indication of an exhibition on the painting itself.

In any case, the portrait came into the possession of the imperial family (likely Emperor Charles himself) and was sold after the death of Archduchess Elisabeth (married von und zu Liechtenstein, the youngest daughter of Emperor Karl, 1922-1993) together with a collection of works by artists from the k.u.k. War Press Quarters at auction at the Dorotheum in 1998. The portfolio contained a total of 27 works, including 3 by John Quincy Adams (Lots 205, 206, 207), 8 works by Karl Ludwig Prinz (a close friend of Adams), 3 works by Hugo von Bouvard (who actively served as Kaiserjäger Captain), two works each by Karl Friedrich Gsur and Max von Poosh, and one work each by: Ludwig Borotha von Trstvenica, Istvan Erdes, Bela von Horty, Anton Hans Karlinsky, Hugo Klein, Rudolf Konopa, Hans Larvin, Szemere Lenke, Ferdinand Staeger, and Berhard Steiner. Given the House of Habsburg's shared responsibility for World War I, instead of the auction, an endowment to public collections would certainly have been more respectful to the memory of the soldiers depicted and their war artists.



Victor Schemsil, 1926, Das k.u.k. 3. Regiment der Tiroler Kaiserjäger im Weltkriege 1914-1918, Verlag Teutsch, Bregenz, 622 pp.


1915 Archduke Karl, after 1916 Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary.
His daughter Archd. Elisabeth Charlotte, married von und zu Lichtenstein (1922-1993), Waldstein Castle, and her estate.
Auction Dorotheum Vienna 14.3. 1998 Lot 206.
Unknown private collection.