Marie Hofteufel 1907

Marie Hofteufel as Mabel Chiltern in Oskar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband". Full-length portrait view from the right, standing in front of a large Empire mirror, head slightly tilted, looking at a begging wire-haired dachshund on a blue-white-gold Empire armchair. Armchair draped with a blue and gold silk coverlet. The sitter is wearing a white silk dress with yellow-silk puff sleeves and a yellow train and white silk collar. Her hair is in a Biedermeier hairstyle with curled locks; she holds a bouquet of yellow and red chrysanthemums in her hands. Living interior further represented by a shelf in the left background of the picture.

JQAW# P_1907_060
Oil on canvas 202 x 155 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 907
Bielsko-Biała (PL) Sułkowski Palace Museum MBB/S/73

Marie Luise Hofteufel (family name: Wollner), 17.9.1880 Vienna? to 15.5.1944 Vence, France. Actress at the Deutsches Volkstheater (1904-1905), Theater in der Josefstadt (1905-1908), and Hofburgtheater (1910-1912), Vienna. 1905-1908 also guest appearances at the Carl Theater and Lustspieltheater, Vienna. 1908-1910 engaged at the Kleines Theater Berlin and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg. Signature roles: Mabel Chiltern in Oskar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" (pictured), Ellen Birkins in Oskar Wilde's "Dorian Gray," and Erna in Arthur Schnitzler's "Weites Land" (see cross-references).

In 1912 she does not renew her contract at the Hofburg Theater (the press reports of her alleged marriage, which, however, is not documented). Afterwards private in Vienna (press reports speak of a serious illness), 1923 short return to the theater (guest performance at the Renaissancetheater), 1929 dissolution of the household in Vienna and voluntary auction of her furniture and art objects (see auction catalog with paintings by Jan Breughel, Luca Giordano, Hans Markart, Adolf Kaufmann among others) including the Adams Portrait (Lot#12). In 1937 she left Vienna, thereafter residing in Davos, Switzerland (Merula House). Her last documented sign of life is her declaration of assets of December 9, 1938 to the police chief in Berlin, which served as the basis for the confiscation of her property remaining in Austria (securities and savings books) (Österr.Staatsarchiv Akten Zl. 1.366). Her further fate is unknown; only her death in Vence, France on 15.5.1944 is documented by files of the UN Office for Refugees (see cross-references). She bequeathed her last possessions (jewelry worth about US$ 30,000 in a Swiss bank safe) to the (Jewish) Joint Distribution Committee (see literature). Marie Hofteufel was racially persecuted because of her Jewish ancestors despite her Protestant religious confession. It is unclear whether her death as a 64-year-old fugitive in France was a natural one or whether she was a victim of the Shoa.

The portrait of Marie Hofteufel in her signature role as Marie Chiltern combines both technical sophistication through the mirroring of the portrait as well as recurring, harmonious color schemes, and appeal to a wide audience. Compared to her fellow actresses Lily Marberg (1907) or Hilde Radnay (1910), Marie Hofteufel is portrayed as more folk-like and in a less sovereign/distant manner (see cross-references). At the exhibition in Salzburg in 1907, the portrait was awarded the Golden State Medal. The picture was often exhibited and published several times, including as an art postcard (Verlag Gebrüder Kohn, Vienna), there under the title "Vor dem Spiegel". At the auction of the Hofteufel apartment furnishings, the Adams portrait was also the most expensive lot. It was probably bought by Maria Theresia von Moser-Ebreichsdorf, married Princess Sulkowski (1872-1940) or her husband (Prince Alexander Edmund S. 1856-1929) and taken to their castle in Bielitz/Bielsko, Poland. The portrait remained there and has been on public display in the museum there since the nationalization of the castle and the Sulkowski collections after 1945. The Sukolwski Palace Museum is quite a fitting home for the portrait of the Hofburg actress Marie Hofteufel: Between 1837 and 1860, the Sulkowski Theater, built by the Princes Sulkowski, existed in Vienna. In 1929 Adams also painted a portrait of the youngest son of Maria Theresa and Alexander Sulkowsi, Roman Sulkowski, which is also in the museum in the Bielsko (see cross-references).


1907 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 51 1907/08 #1912).
1907 Salzburg (Golden State Medal).
1907 Gallery Arnold Dresden.

1909 Great Berlin Art Exhibition, cat#1689 (Adams is awarded the Gold Medal for Art).

Permanent exhibition: (staircase), Sułkowski Palace Museum, Bielsko-Biała PL.


APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 77, cat.#46, fig.#31.

The Jewish Post 12.1.1945


1907-1929 sitter.
1929 Auction Dorotheum Vienna 19.11.1929.
1929-1940 Maria Theresia Moser-Ebreichsdorf, Princess Sulkowski, Bielsko (PL).
Her estate, Sulkowski Castle, Bielsko.
After 1945 nationalization. Bielsko-Biała Sułkowski Palace Museum MBB/S/73.