Mary Adams Teltscher 1896

Almost full body portrait in sitting position, looking at the viewer. The sitter is seated on a red velvet armchair with a low, semicircular backrest. She is wearing an opulent white silk ball gown with puff sleeves that end below her shoulders. The top of the dress is made of translucent crepe de chine studded with shiny rhinestones, finished off with a white silk choker. Her left forearm is dressed with a white silk evening glove, the right hand is undressed and holds the glove and a white fan. Picture background in blue color.

JQAW# P_1896_010
Pastel ca. 90 x 150 cm
Signature: John Q. Adams Wien 96
Private collection USA.
Photo: courtesy of Mark Petschek

Mary "Mizzi" Quincy Adams, married Teltscher, sister of the artist, 25.2.1875 Vienna to March 1973 Cambridge, MA USA.
Childhood in Vienna (VI, Corneliusgasse 2), during 1879-1887 in the USA, then back in Vienna. Marriage 27.12.1897 to Wilhelm Teltscher (1965 Brno to 1940 Vienna), two sons: Arthur "Turi" 1898-1984 (see his Adams portrait, cross-references) and George 1904-1983, a famous graphic designer. (Her sister Luise Elise Adams had been married to Josef Teltscher, Wilhelm T.'s brother, since 13.2.1895. Such multiple marriages between siblings of two families were common in Vienna around 1900). The Teltschers were a widespread family of Jewish merchants who were all in close contact with each other. Joint visits of up to a dozen members of the Adams and Teltscher families to Künstlerhaus balls (for example, in 1907, 1909) under the leadership of John Quincy Adams are documented.

Against this background of active participation in social life, the present portrait in the spectacular ball gown was created. It was probably made to document the 21-year-old Mary's introduction to society, which usually occurred at ball events and required a special wardrobe. In 1896 Adams was in his last year as a student at the Academy in Vienna (then from 1897 studies in Munich and Paris), but the portrait of his sister Mary is already masterly and painted with special care, which can be interpreted as an expression of a close relationship between the siblings.

The painting remained in the Adams household at Corneliusgasse 2, which Mary continued to run with her sisters Luise and Victoria after their mother's death in 1899, and remained there even after the emigration of the sisters Mary and Luise to the USA in 1946. In 1951 the sisters returned to Vienna to sell their majority share in the house at Corneliusgasse 2 and to dissolve their two apartments. The art possessions, especially several Adams paintings, were exported to the USA (BDA ZI 1210/51). The painting accompanied Mary to the end of her life, which she spent in a home in Cambridge, MA, where it remained after her death and continues to delight all its residents.



APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 246, cat.#213, fig.#146.


The sitter, Vienna and USA.
Bequeathed by the sitter to
private collection USA.