Preparing breakfast 1904


For description see below.

JQAW# P_1904_020
Oil on wood, 68 x 52 cm.
Signature: John Q. Ɑdams 904.
Unknown private collection.
Image: Künstlerhausarchiv.

Full body portrait of a lady, right side view. She stands at an Art Nouveau buffet and prepares a coffee service. She is wearing a floor-length white morning dress with wide sleeves and a cape-like top trimmed with lace. Her hair is pinned up in a knot. The buffet has rounded edges, and the supporting pillars are richly decorated with carved floral motifs at the top. In the buffet’s upper part are inserted boxes with small square glass windows, in the lower side part are compartments on which the coffee service, as well as porcelain are placed. In the buffet middle part on the shelf porcelain, on the buffet plate a round crystal vase with flowers. In the background a wooden wall paneling which a picture is visible.

This serene yet intimate portrait captivates with its successfully captured moment of concentrated preparation for what is likely morning coffee. Both clothing and interior vividly depict a domestic scene in the Art Nouveau period. The sitter is possibly the artist's wife Stefanie (Steffy) Adams and the interior is that of their shared sumptious apartment (also studio) in Vienna, Mariahilferstrasse 29. The detailed depiction of a residential interior is rare in Adams' work and suggests that he may have wanted to document his domestic environment.

The painting is documented by a good photograph (still on the easel) and by the card catalog of the Künstlerhaus archive, but is otherwise lost. It also does not appear in the Künstlerhaus entry books, so was never publicly exhibited, which is rather unusual for such a successful painting. This perhaps indicates that the sitter was not from the Adams family circle and that her privacy was to be preserved. Probably one of the reasons why the painting has been lost since it was painted in Adams' studio in 1904 and auctioned in 1921.




APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 58, cat.#27, fig.#15.


Auktionshaus Glückselig Vienna auction 17.-23.5.1921 Lot#551.
Unknown private collection (Austria?).