SHEPHERD W & K GALLERIES European Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture
AGRICOLA, Carl   1779 - 1852
18th Century
Austrian

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST’S WIFE, 1810

Dimensions: 11 1/2” x 14 15/16” (29.2 x 37.9 cm)

Agricola made several drawings of his wife, Christine von Saur, whose brother was a noted miniaturist, Carl von Saur (1797-1853). The present drawing is similar to another portrait of the artist’s wife in their Vienna home, Wife at Table with Fishbowl (private collection, Germany). The ghost image of the latter work is in the Agricola album (see catalog no. 3). In the present drawing, the partial form of Agricola’s wife is reflected in the glass of the windowpane, and the other half of the window is closed. An unidentified church and church buildings can be seen in the background through the window on the left.

Agricola was well known as a portraitist. His teacher, Heinrich Füger, was director of the Academy of Vienna and a master miniature portrait painter. Agricola painted portraits of the family of Count Moritz von Fries, for some time the wealthiest man in Austria. It is likely that Agricola attended the salons of Count Fries, who patronized artists and musicians, including Ludwig von Beethoven. Other sitters included the famous ballerina, Fanny Elssler, the Duke of Reichstadt, and the Czar and Czarina of Russia. Another sitter was a police inspector’s daughter, Maria Preindl, with whom he had a scandalous affair.

References:

Shepherd & Derom Galleries, The Album of Carl Agricola 1779-1852: Neo-Classical Figures and Early Romantic Landscapes (Fall 2000), 44-55.