Kurz equestrian portrait 1908
Full-length portraits of Mr. Kurz and his daughter in riding costumes with two riding horses in front of a landscape background. Mr. Kurz, on the left of the picture, in sideways position turned to his left, wearing a dark riding coat, light riding breeches, riding boots and a checkered cap in his right hand. Daughter Kurz in center of picture, in sideways position, head turned toward viewer and holding her horse by its reins; in a black riding costume and cap, white gloves and a riding crop under her left armpit. The two riding horses depicted only in the front part, the front one in an upright position, the rear one with its head lowered to the ground.
Oil on canvas 240 x 240 cm (original)
signed: John Quincy Ɑdams
Only fragmentarily preserved.
Private collection Austria and France.
Portrait of textile industrialist Franz Ferdinand Kurz von Hardtendorff (1861-1921) and his daughter Franziska Caroline "Lily" Kurz von Hardtendorff (from 1909 married von Meiss-Teuffen, 1887-1970).
The large-format, representative "Kurz equestrian portrait" was probably intended for the Villa Kurz in Jägerndorf (Krnov CZ), built in 1902 by the Jugendstil architect Leopold Bauer, also from Jägerndorf (no longer in existence today). In addition to the equestrian portrait, Adams also painted a portrait of Mrs. Kurz (Helene, née Krackhart 1861-1944) with her daughter Lily in the same year. A horse head study for the equestrian portrait has also survived (see cross-references).
The adoption of the formal language of the aristocratic/imperial equestrian portrait for the representational purposes of the rising bourgeoisie attracted attention as well as ridicule at the 1908 Künstlerhaus exhibition. The painting and Adams were satirized in the Künstlerhaus carnival newspaper (the three-dimensional caricature was made by Künstlerhaus patron and amateur sculptor Moritz Rothberger, a well-known art collector - also of Adams' works- see Gschiel et al., 2010, references). Contrary to the opinion of the scoffers, the depiction of horses in the painting (see also the horse head study, cross-references) is definitely masterful.
Franz Ferdinand Kurz died in 1921. As a result of the First World War and the incorporation of Silesia into the newly established Czechoslovakia, the Kurz v. Hardtentorff family had to give up their large modern house and property in Jägerndorf. The hyperinflation and the economic crisis followed and necessitated in 1929 the sale of the Franz Kurz cloth factory to the Larisch & Söhne company. The family had moved to Vienna. Lily v. Meiss finally moved the two large-format pictures (Reiterbildnis and Mutter & Tochter Kurz) to Linz, where they hung in her apartment until 1970. Later, the large-format paintings were reduced to individual parts of the pictures. The various fragments are still in the possession of the family in Austria, France (equestrian portrait) and Scotland (mother & daughter Kurz) (see color inserts in the B/W reproductions).
1908 Künstlerhaus Vienna No. 24 (EL 52 1908/09 #3224)
Westermanns Monatshefte 58(115), 1913, pp. 92-105, fig. p.93.
APH, Werksverzeichnis JQA 1995, p. 90, cat.#59, fig.#41.
Christina Gschiel et al, Tailoring and Collecting: Die Wiener Familie Rothberger, 2010, Böhlau.
Their family descendants. Private collection Austria, France.