Lillian Karczag-Marischka 1927

Full-length portrait standing, body turned to the left, her left foot placed in front of the right, looking directly at the viewer. She is leaning against a white and blue gold armchair, her left hand resting on the backrest, a borzoi greyhound to her right. She wears a sleeveless silk dress with wide flared pink-light blue skirt, reminiscent of a bloomed tulip, at the waist, a large pink fabric flower, and a white-blue chiffon wrapped around her arms. Her wavy red-brown hair is short, around her neck she wears a single-row pearl necklace, and on her left ring finger a large gold ring. Background depicted as a wide landscape with pink-bluish cloudy sky.

JQAW# P_1927_050
Oil on canvas 217 x 130 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1927
Theater Museum Vienna BT_O_3851

Lillian Karczag-Marischka 7.7.1901 Hinterbrühl to 23.10.1981 Vienna, silent film actress and costume designer.
Lillian (Lilly) Karczag was born into a full-blooded theater family. Her father Wilhelm (Vilmos) Karczag (1859-1923) was a theater director (of practically all operetta theaters in Vienna after World War I) and a writer (who published in Hungarian) and music publisher (publishing Franz Lehár and Emmerich Kálmán among others), and her mother Julia (Juliska) Kopácsy, married Karczag (1871-1953) was a celebrated singer. Early (28.8.1921) she married the actor and director Hubert Marischka (1882-1959), who made her known under the name Lilly Marischka with his silent films in the period 1920-1923. After this brief film career, she made a career change and worked as a costume designer primarily at the Theater an der Wien, again with her husband, who had taken over the management of the theater after her father's death (as well as its music publishing house). The theatrical crisis that spread from Germany to Austria after the Nazis came to power led to economic difficulties that resulted in the closure of the Theater an der Wien (1935) and the music publishing house (1936). In 1935 the Marischka couple announced an amicable divorce (Die Stunde 19.7.1935, p.3). However, the marriage was not legally divorced until September 1938 (Wolfgang Böhm, seminar paper Der Musikverlag Karczag, University of Vienna 2002, p. 8). In June 1939, Lillian Karczag-Marischka married the Chilean envoy Martin Robert Figueroa (1889-1971). The couple spent the war period in Santiago de Chile. After the war, the couple returned to Vienna in 1947, Martin Figueroa as Chilean Ambassador, Lillian K-M/Figueroa, on the other hand, retreated into private life.

The portrait of Lilian Karczag-Marischka is a characteristic late work by Adams, in which he further elevates the canon of the sophisticated portrait of a lady, which he established with the portrait of Kitty Schönborn in 1918, to the almost rococo style. The portrayed woman was certainly instrumental in this, as her choice of wardrobe in the style of the "Roaring Twenties" and the pose with the borzoi greyhound were certainly strongly influenced by earlier Adams portraits and by her professional activities as a costume designer and operetta outfitter. The portrait accordingly attracted great publicity at the 1927 Künstlerhaus exhibition, no doubt due in part to the refined color composition. The painting remained in the possession of the family (presumably the mother Julia Karczag or Hubert Marischka's) and in 1965 entered the holdings of the Theater Museum Vienna as an estate dedication.


1927 Künstlerhaus Vienna
(EL Vol.78 1927 #869).

1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Viennese Society in Portrait, Catalog No. 58.

2023/2024 Theater Museum Vienna, Showbiz made in Vienna, The Marischkas.


Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #58 (no ill.).

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 209, cat.#176, fig.#118.


Family of portrayed.
1965 estate dedication to Theatermuseum Vienna BT_O_3851.