Richard Graf Bienert-Schmerling 1907
Full body portrait in sitting position, legs crossed, his left hand on his thigh, his right hand placed on a table, looking directly at the viewer. He wears a black tailcoat, with white shirt and bow tie, wearing the insignia of the Order of the Iron Crown I. Class (breast star and yellow-blue ribbon). Interior represented by a high armchair, a side table on which there are books and a crystal inkpot, as well as a picture (partial view).
Oil on canvas 130 x 111 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 907.
Belvedere Vienna Inv.No.826.
Dr. (jur.) Richard Freiherr von Bienerth (since 1915 Count von Bienerth-Schmerling), 2.3.1863 Verona to 13.6.1918 Vienna.
Civil servant, politician, in 1906 Minister of Education, in 1907 Minister of the Interior, as well as in 1908-1911 Prime Minister, then 1911-1915 Statthalter (governor) of Lower Austria (when he resigned due to serious illness). See also his biography.
The portrait was comissioned in 1907 by the k.k. Minsterum für Cultus und Unterricht directly from Adams after Bienerth's ministerial service in the ministry was completed, and remained in state ownership. On the one hand, the portrait is a classic representative portrait, displaying all the symbols of a successful career (books as a symbol of education, decorations as a sign of recognition, formal dress, etc.). Compared to contemporaneous portraits, however, the Bienerth-Schmerling portrait is also influenced by the color scheme of the Volendam studies, which were done in dark brown tones, and is therefore, on the other hand, more advanced in details. In accordance with an official commission, the portrait is at any rate conservative in comparison to Adams female portraits of the same period (such as Lily Berger) and corresponds to the expectations of the client (and the public). The picture paved the way for Adams to become a leading portraitist of official Vienna. The breakthrough came in 1908 with the portrait of the patron of arts Prince Liechtenstein commissioned by the City of Vienna (and the move to London of Philip de Laszlo, who up to this point was probably Adams' greatest competitor, but with whom he was on friendly and collegial terms, as Lazlo's portrait of Adams from 1906 shows).
1908 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 52 1908/09 #1766).
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p.81 cat.#50, fig.#35.
1907 k.k. Ministry for Culture and Education, Vienna. Belvedere Vienna, Inv.No.826.