Joseph Karl Stieler
1781 Mainz - 1858 Munich
Portrait of Auguste Strobl
Oil on canvas. 71.5 x 60 cm.
Inscribed to the reverse: J. Stieler 1828.
Formerly Wilhelm II, King of Württemberg, Rosenstein Castle, Stuttgart (label on the reverse). - Given to the current owner as a wedding gift in 1937.
U. von Hase: Joseph Stieler 1781-1858, Reutlingen 1971, cat. no. 129 (only the Munich and Hamburg version).
Joseph Stieler painted the first portraits for the famous “Gallery of Beauties” of the Bavarian King Ludwig I in 1827. However, the King and his court painter had already developed the plan to create a portrait gallery of the most beautiful women, depicting the “ideal of beauty in a selection independent of class or nationality” in 1821. It was not a new invention, predated by Peter Lely's “The Windsor Beauties” or Kneller's “Hampton Court Beauties” in England, as well as similar commissions by Augustus III in Saxony and even in Bavaria under Electoress Henriette Adelheid of Savoyen. Louis I's gallery, which took over 20 years to paint, was probably the last such series and is certainly one of the most well-known today.
For the first painting in the series, Stieler portrayed the daughter of the head accountant Auguste Strobl. He painted two different versions of her portrait and the second - this one - which was intended for the royal collection, in three examples: The work intended for the King painted in 1827, the present work in 1828, and one canvas in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Stieler depicts the girl facing away from the beholder looking back over her left shoulder in an unusual back view. Her soft skin, bright eyes, elegant hairstyle and white muslin dress combine to create a graceful image.
Alongside Winterhalter, Stieler was doubtlessly among the most accomplished German portrait painters of his time. He acquired his elegant style from his teachers Heinrich Füger in Vienna and François Gérard, court painter to Napoleon in Paris. The French capital had a particularly strong influence on Stieler's career. The artist resided there from 1807 - 1808 and said himself that in Paris he “learnt to paint for the second time”.