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Josef Abel (1764-1818) "Viennese Actress Maria Anna Adamberg", important oil painting!!, 1799
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The idea of this portrait surely belongs to the sitter, who had herself wished to be painted while busying casually through the city on one of late autumn evenings. What was just as casual for this lady captured in this 1799 portrait by fashionable Viennese portraitist Josef Abel, was her everyday evening appearance at the stage of Vienna Burgtheater.
We are dealing here with an extremely rare portrait of fantastic quality, depicting very popular late-18th-century Viennese actress Maria Anna Adamberger.
There was only one other oil portrait of Adamberger known until today, namely the one painted by Anton Hickel (1745-1798), in property of Vienna Burgtheater portrait gallery. In this portrait (alike in another, engraved one - see our image nr.10), we see the same woman, albeit 10-15 years younger. In our portrait, she is already 47 but is still beautiful and youthful; she will continue to conquer myriads of Viennese audiences with her talent for another six years. Maria Anna Adamberger died on the 5th of November 1804.
Maria Anna Adamberger was born in Vienna on the 23rd of October 1752 (some sources say 1753) as a daughter of Austrian court actor Karl Saquet. From 1760 she played roles of children and in 1768 became a member of Vienna Burgtheater Company. The most prominent admirer of her talent was Kaiser Joseph II himself. In 1781 she married operatic tenor Valentin Adamberger (see our image nr.12). Besides playing other roles, she received great acclaim in 1786 performing alongside her husband as Madame Vogelsang in the original production of Mozart's comic Singspiel (opera) "Der Schauspieldirektor" (The Impresario). She was mainly known for her roles in comedies, while her sister Katharina Jaquet (1760-1786) preferred tragic roles. Heinrich von Collin and other poets have composed pieces about Maria Anna.
As already mentioned, she passed away in 1804, two months after the death of her beloved husband. Her daughter, Antonia Adamberger (1790-1867) also became a Viennese court actress (she was a fiancÚ of German poet Theodor Koerner killed in Liberation War of 1813).
Maria Anna Adamberger was not the only actress portrayed by Josef Abel; the latter enjoyed a wealthy clientele of diverse representatives of Viennese cultural life: stage, music, art, and literature (for example, see our images nr.13-20) .
Josef Abel (1764 Aschach an der Donau, Upper Austria - 1818 Vienna) was born as a son of Johann Melchior Abel, who was a carpenter. After finishing school Josef started a commercial apprenticeship in Aschbach. For his sponaneos drawings he was noticed by a perambulating high-level official who earmarked him at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Arts) in Vienna. He passed the admission exam with distinction in 1782. He became a pupil of the associate professors Heinrich Friedrich Fueger and Franz Anton von Zauner. In 1794 his painting "Daedalus and Icarus" won the academical golden medal. As best pupil of his class and through contacts of Fueger he received an exceedingly generous scholarship which he used for a 6-year study stay in Rome. Before that, in 1795/96 he was engaged by Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski who invited him as a drawing and private teacher to his estates in Poland.
Josef Abel came back to Vienna in 1796 and worked as a free painter; at the same time he was in close contact with his teacher Fueger.
In summer 1801 he travelled to Rome via Venice, Bologna and Florence. Soon he joined the German Romantic artists Johann Christian Reinhart and Joseph Anton Koch; the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen was also among his friends. He also became a member of the artist group "Guild of St. Lucas" (Nazarenes). In 1807 Abel returned home to Vienna where he lived for the rest of his life. On 8 February 1815 he was elected Member of the Vienna Academy.
Abel died on 4 October 1818 in the age of 54. Since he had no family, the City of Vienna inherited his impressive library.
1.) estate of late British broadcaster Kenneth Kendall (1924-2012; see our image nr.22) from his Beverly Hills villa, Los-Angeles, USA
2.) auction house "Heritage", Dallas, USA, June 15th 2013, lot 66018 (see our images nr.21)
Condition: good; relined
Creation Year: 1799
Measurements: UNFRAMED:88,9x68,6cm/35,0x27,0in FRAMED: 106,2x84,7cm/41,8x33,3in
Object Type: Framed oil painting
Style: Old Master paintings
Technique: oil on canvas
Inscription: signed and dated: Jos.Abel /Pinx. (1)799
Creator: Josef Abel
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1764 Aschach-1818 Vienna
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