Knight pre- 1910
Almost full-body portrait of a medieval knight; standing, head turned to the right, looking into the distance. He wears a red tunic, chain mail underneath, chain mail on his head and neck, holding a full face helmet with narrow eye slits in his left hand on his body. A wide leather belt with straps holds a long sword. In his right hand he holds a lance, of which only the lower part is visible. Background executed as a stylized landscape in brown and blue-violet tones.
Oil on canvas 125 x 70 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Meinem lieben Aigner.
Private collection Austria.
This sketchy and cursorily executed genre painting of a knight is probably an allusion to the desirable "chivalrous" behavior that characterized the code of honor of officers and male members of the aristocracy of the monarchy (and led, among other things, to the unfortunate dueling culture). The dedication probably refers to the sports friend and officer Max von Aigner, with whom Adams, among other things, co-founded the first Austrian winter sports club in 1905 (Neue Freie Presse January 13, 1905, p.8) and together with Aigner also served as an (ski) instructor for several years. No picture of Max von Aigner has been preserved nor any biographical information. It is therefore impossible to determine whether the knight is a portrait of Aigner or merely a genre representation. The latter hypothesis seems more likely. The sketchy and cursory execution suggests that the knight was probably originally made as a decorative painting for a social event at the Künstlerhaus (which was traditionally lavishly decorated by member artists) and only afterwards dedicated as a gift to Aigner. Based on the signature, it is concluded that the painting was created approx. before 1910, even if the impressionistic execution would also fit into the late phase of Adams after the First World War.
Max von Aigner, Vienna (?).
Dorotheum Wien Auction 9.9.2021 Lot 85.
Private collection, Austria.