Dr. Paul Freiherr Gautsch von Frankenthurn (26. 2.1851 Vienna to 20. 4.1918 Vienna).
Graduate and long-time director of the Theresian Academy (Theresianum), many times minister, three times prime minister. See his entry in OeBL.
The present portrait is a preliminary study for a larger portrait that is lost (see its own catalogue entry). The study dates from 1913, after the period of the sitters active political offices, although Gautsch-Frankenthun continued to serve as a member of the Herrenhaus and a close confidant of Emperor Franz Josef I. The portrait study is rather conventional, only the completely object-free background is remarkable, though again not unusual for a study. The energetic, self-confident look of the portrayed is aptly captured in the picture.
There is a handed down anecdote about this. It was customary among the graduates of the Theresianum to address each other by the family-style Du, regardless of social status and rank. (A sign of common membership of an elite, as was also customary among aristocrats and among the officers of the Imperial and Royal Army). Upon taking office as Minister of Education, Gautsch-Frankenthurn was greeted by senior section head Herzmanovsky-Orlando (the father of writer Fritz H.-O.) in a short speech, addressing the minister (with whom he had attended school together at the Theresianum) as Du. Gautsch-Frankenthurm replied icily, "Thank you [using the formal Sie], Mr. Section Head," an arrogant rejection of the "Du" word that triggered an embarrassed silence in the room. To which Hermanovsy-Orlando replied: "Aha, I see that you disdain the fraternal Du. But allow me to use it once again. You can lick my..." The next day he retired to private life. (J. Twaroch, Österreichsicher Anekdotenschatz, Kral, 2014, p.85.)
1913 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 58 1913/14 #1363).
1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Viennese Society in Portrait, Catalog No. 26.
Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #26. (w. B/W ill.)
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 113 cat.#81, ill.#57.