Adolf-Ulrich WERTMÜLLER. Portrait of Molly Wittfooth


WERTMÜLLER Adolf-Ulrich (Stockholm 1751 - Wilmington 1801).
« Portrait de Molly Wittfooth tenant une partition de musique » (Portrait of Molly Wittfooth Holding a Musical Score".

Canvas and stretcher of origin.
Signed, located and dated on the music score.
A. Wertmüller/Bordeaux 1789.
73 x 60 cm (28-3/4 x 23-1/2 in.) (Minor accident).

Provenance :
By direct descendent of Madame Jacques Balguerie, maiden name Molly Anne Caroline Wittfooth.

Bibliography : - M. Benisovich, Wertmüller and his house ledger entitled « Notte », in « Gazette des Beaux Arts », July-December, 1956, p. 53; G.W. Lundberg, Wertmüller, Swedish painter for Marie-Antoinette, her stay in Bordeaux 1788-1890, Bordeaux, 1970, p. 34, n' 39, repr. pl. 16.
- Adolf-Ulrich Wertmüller in Bordeaux (1788-1790) in [Expo. Bordeaux, 1989] Le port des Lumières. La peinture à Bordeaux (Port of Lights, Painting in Bordeaux) (1750-1800), pp. 335-352, , fig. 9, p. 339.

Selected from the best students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm to complete his training in Paris, Adolf Ulrich Wertmüller, arrived in France in 1772.

In 1787 he was at the service of royalty: appointed painter to the king of Sweden. He also realized the portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette and her children. The following year, he joined his cousin Joseph Alexander Roslin, son of the painter, in Bordeaux. In his ledger, La Notte de [ses] ouvrages, Wertmüller listed fifty-two portraits executed during his two-year stay in Bordeaux, from 1788 to 1790. That list does not include portraits offered to friends, etc. This reveals the impressive success of the artist whose realism conquered a clientele made up of foreigners living in Bordeaux: diplomats, emigrants, traders attracted by the city's commercial development.

This cosmopolitan place welcomed this foreigner of Protestant faith. It is not uncommon that within the same family, parents and children raised one another, so Johnston's, the Mac-Carthy's, the Skinner's, etc. and Wittfooth's. On September 29, 1789, Wertmüller finished his portrait of Jean-Charles Wittfooth, then a month later, those of his parents (cf. sold in Stockholm Bukowski, June 2, 2010, No. 237, repr.).

The portrait of Molly was completed on December 12, 1789. The work expresses the model's innocence of youth with a simplicity dear to the artist.

Provenance :

  • Item(s) quantity:  1
  • Expertissim Reference: 2011100002