Franz Xaver Winterhalter Biography | Oil Paintings
4-20-1805 Menzenschwand, GER - 7-8-1873 Frankfurt am Main, GERBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1823, at the age of eighteen, went to the Academy of Arts in Munich, to study with Peter von Cornelius. He decided to move to France in 1836 when his Italian genre scene Il Dolce Farniente attracted notice at the Paris Salon that year and the following year, his painting The Decameron was also lauded. Both paintings were Academic in the style of Raphael. In the Salon of 1838, he exhibited a portrait of the Napoleon Alexandre Prince De Wagram And His Daughter Malcy. When that same year he painted Louise Marie of Orleans, Queen of the Belgians and her son, Duc de Brabant, his career as a portrait painter was secured.
In Paris, Franz Xaver Winterhalter became fashionable and popular. He was named court painter of King Louis-Philippe, who commissioned him to paint individual portraits of his large family, Winterhalter ended up painting thirty portraits for him.
Franz Winterhalter a Victim of His Own Success.
But, Winterhalter's reputation in artistic circles suffered. The critics, who had praised his paintings in the Salon of 1836, dismissed him as a painter that could not be taken seriously. This attitude from the critics persisted throughout Winterhalter's career, sentencing his work to a category of his own in the hierarchy of painting. Winterhalter himself viewed his first royal commissions as a temporary interlude before returning to subject painting and the field of academic respectability, the portraits he had done were exquisite, and he became a victim of his own success and for the rest of his life, he would work as a portrait painter. He was exceptionally successful and became rich painting portraits. Franz Xaver Winterhalter became an international celebrity enjoying Royal patronages.
Winterhalter first visited England in 1842 and returned several times to paint Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their growing family, painting at least 120 works for them on display to the public at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.
In 1852, he went to Spain to paint Queen Isabella II with her daughter, Infanta Maria-Isabel. Russian aristocratic visitors to Paris also liked to have their portraits executed by the famous master. Winterhalter was in constant demand by the courts of Britain, Spain, Belgium, Russia, France, Germany, and Mexico, and he became known as the "Painter of Princes".
To manage the pressure of so many portrait commissions, many of them calling for extra reproductions, Winterhalter made use of painting assistants. Only Rubens and Van Dyck had as many royal patronages as Winterhalter, and even they did not travel to as many royal courts as he did.
Franz Xaver Winterhalter's portraits were prized for their subtle intimacy. He created the image his sitters wished or needed to project to their subjects. He was an expert painter in the art of conveying the texture of the expensive fabrics, furs, and jewelry, the royals liked to display, and posed his sitters in almost theatrical compositions.
Art Movement: Academic.
Artists Influencing Franz Xaver Winterhalter: Karl Ludwig Schüler, Peter von Cornelius, Joseph Stieler.
He Traveled To Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Mexico, France, Poland, Russia, Spain, England.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.