Lili Marberg 1907

Lili Marberg as Jolanthe in the play "The Devil" by Ferenc Molnár. Full-length portrait, descending from a round podium, looking toward the viewer. The sitter wears a splendid, fur-trimmed coat, which has slipped down over her left shoulder and which she holds together with her left hand in front of her chest. Of the rest of her body, only the left, striding foot is visible, whose shoe is adorned with a stitch. She wears her hair pinned up, on it a dainty diadem. In the background of the picture interior with marble fireplace, on it decorative objects; on the floor a Persian carpet, on the wall several paintings indicated. For color description see catalog entry.

JQAW# P_1907_080
Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown.
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 907
Portrait lost.
B/W reproduction, Künstlerhaus Archive, Vienna.

Lili (Lilli/Lilly) Marberg 9.12.1876 Grimma/Leipzig to 8.4.1962 Vienna. Hofburg-Theatre actress and much-portrayed artist.
Lili Marberg received her training in piano and English at the Dresden Conservatory, but then turned to acting. Training and first engagements in provincial theaters in Zwickau and Eberfeld-Barmen. Then engaged at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg as well as at the Munich Schauspielhaus. There she caused a sensation in 1903 as Salome in Oscar Wilde's play (see the role portrait by Ferdinand Schmutzler). In 1907 she was engaged by the Deutsches Volkstheater in Vienna as the successor to Helene Odilon, see her Adams Portrait, and in 1911 she moved to the Hofburgtheater, of which she was a member until 1950. Her premiere at the Hofburg Theater was in 1911 in Arthur Schnitzler's play Das Weite Land (in which Marie Hofteufel, see her Adams portrait, also participated). Lili Marberg portrayed roles in plays by F. Wedekind, G. Hauptmann, and H. Ibsen, then later queens and maternal roles, moving into character in old age. Honors: Honorary member of the Burgtheater, Kammerschauspielerin, professor title. Lili Marberg was married to the architect Karl Hans Jaray (1872-1944). Her stepson from Jaray's first marriage was the actor Hans Jaray (1906-1990) whose career aspirations Lili Marberg promoted even against the will of her husband/father. (Hans Jaray was racially persecuted and went into exile in Hollywood. After the war he returned to Vienna. He was a successful actor in theater and film, director, and author).

As an actress, Lili Marberg was an oft-portrayed person of public interest (see cross-references), and her 1907 Adams portrait, unfortunately lost, depicts her in a majestic pose as Jolanthe in Ferenc Molnar's play The Devil. The subject is not without piquancy, since in Molnar's play the devil (personified as Dr. Müller) wants to seduce the painter Hans and the married Jolanthe (who had already known each other as children) at a reunion (Jolanthe wants to have her portrait painted) into a sexual adventure, exposing and commenting on their inner thoughts and feelings. After its first performance in Hungary in 1907, the play was soon performed in Vienna and became a great international success due to its criticism of bourgeois false morality and its explicit addressing of sexual impulses and conflicts. The Adams portrait was widely discussed in articles and also reproduced several times in black and white. It has been lost since the 1908 Künstlerhaus exhibition (KH EL Vol.52 1908/09 #2036), but the color scheme survives in a detailed review in the Wiener Zeitung 19.11.1908, p.20. There, the coat is described as "in dignified blue with most precious gray fur work" against a brown background. "The pink silk shoe is virtuously placed" and "the very beautifully painted shoulder that catches the light" are further characteristics of the picture description from 1908. The successful coloring of the picture was also recognized by Adam's critics without envy and praised as "a drop of theatrical blood on the palette" (quoted in: Roessler, 1913, p.96).


1908 Künstlerhaus Vienna (KH EL Vol.52 1908/09 #2036).

1908 Kunstverein Salzburg.

1909 Grosse Kunstausstellung Düsseldorf (awarded with medal).


APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 83, cat.#52, fig.#37.


Painting lost.