Mary Teltscher, sister of the artist, before 1900
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.
Pastel ca. 90 x 150 cm
Signature: none recognizable
Private collection USA.
Photo: courtesy of Mark Petschek
Mary "Mizzi" Quincy Teltscher, née Adams, sister of the artist, 25.2.1875 Vienna to March 1973 Cambridge, MA USA.
Childhood in Vienna (VI, Corneliusgasse 2), 1879-1887 the USA, then back in Vienna. Marriage 27.12.1897 to Wilhelm Teltscher (1865 Brno to 1940 Vienna), two sons: Arthur 1898-1939 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 led by John Quincy Adams are documented (for example, in 1907, 1909).
Against this background of active participation in social life, the present portrait in the spectacular ball gown was probably also created. Although unsigned and undated (the picture may have been reduced in size during/after the move to the USA in 1951), it was likely created before 1900, i.e. after the marriage in 1897 (for financial reasons, such an expensive ball gown was likely not affordable for Mary or her single mother), or possibly as a wedding gift. The portrait was likely also painted before Adams was elected to the Künstlerhaus in December 1902, because he would certainly have exhibited it there at a later date. (However, APH dates the painting to about 1905; but there is no record of an exhibition at the Künstlerhaus.) The painting remained in the Adams household at Corneliusgasse 2, which Mary continued with her sisters Luise and Victoria after their mother's death in 1899, until it was exported to the United States in 1951 (BDA ZI 1210/51). The date of Mary's emigration to the USA is not documented, but can be assumed to be 1938 at the latest. 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.
Private collection USA.