Capuchin monk in the trenches 1915
Scene in the trench: a Capuchin priest among four soldiers, in cover behind a stone parapet looking down into the valley. The soldiers are all in field gray uniform with field caps, the priest in brown habit girded with white rope, holding a shepherd's crook in his left hand. A soldier, in the foreground right, has a head wound, the white bandage is soaked with blood, he crouches exhausted on the ground, his back leaning against the stone parapet. Another soldier with a full blond beard, rifle held in his left hand, stands to the Father's left. In the background two more soldiers, seeking cover and preparing their rifles for the exchange of fire. In the background a wooded mountain landscape and a cloudy sky.
Oil on canvas 62 x 88 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Folgeria
Unknown private collection
Illustration: art postcard reproduction, HGM Vienna.
A war propaganda picture that aptly captures the drama of mountain fighting, even with its casualties. The presence of the Capuchin monk, identified in the 1916/17 exhibitions as Father Levolegard or Leodegard, is probably intended to give moral support to the soldiers. In the context of wartime propaganda, the image signals that the Church and the imperial state stand united in the struggle of World War I and, with God's help, also hope to achieve victory.
The description of the image varies in the different sources: I Company at Base 17 Father Levolegard with Land Riflemen (Künstlerhaus EL 60 1915/16 #1604), Father Leodegard at Base on Serada with Meran Standschützen (catalog Kollektivaustellung John Quincy Adams 1917), and Capuchin monk in the trenches at Folgeria (Dorotheum auction catalog 1998). Sources agree on the first owner of the painting: Archduke Charles, from 1916 Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. The 1998 auction catalog included only a B&W image. The Adams catalog of works uses instead a color art card reproduction (titled Hinter der Deckung - behind the cover) from the holdings of the HGM Vienna. As is the rule with auction works, the current owner remains unidentified, and therefore cannot be contacted for a better image of the work.
1915 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 60 1915/16 #1604).
1917 Künstlerhaus Vienna collective exhibition John Quincy Adams No. 46.
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 126, cat.#94, fig.#65 (b/w).
1915 Archh. Karl, from 1916 Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary.
His daughter Erzh. Elisabeth Charlotte, von und zu Lichtenstein (1922-1993), Waldstein Castle, and her estate.
Auction Dorotheum Vienna 14.3. 1998 Lot 208.
Unknown private collection.