The Princely Collections possess exceptional holdings of Biedermeier painting, featuring twenty works by Friedrich Amerling alone, including another self-portrait by the artist dating to 1844. Many of these works were acquired by Prince Alois II von Liechtenstein (1796/1836-1858), who was a keen patron of Amerling, commissioning a number of works directly from the artist. During the regency of Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein this part of the collection has been expanded: paintings such as Lost in Her Dreams (c. 1835) or the Portrait of Ignaz Franz Castelli together with two other paintings have been added over the past few years. Amerling's Self-portrait from 1880-1881 was acquired by Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein in 2007 and represents a logical addition to the existing holdings.
Of the approximately 27 preserved and/or documented self-portraits of the artist, more than half are in public collections in addition to these there exist seven replicas. This intensive exploration of his own (mirror) image which was carried out over more than 50 years has few parallels in the history of art. A late work, painted only a few years before his death, this self-portrait closely resembles the plaster death mask in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien and is almost identical to a second version held in a private collection.
In the long series of self-portraits this painting is notable in particular for its incredible vitality and expressiveness: the artist could hardly have rendered the hair and beard in a more lifelike manner, accentuated by the incident light falling from the upper left. The artist has painted himself in three-quarter profile, gazing out of the picture into the distance. Closer examination reveals floral decoration on the wall in the background and a brush held in the artist's right hand, indicating his profession. Originally overpainted by the artist, today it is can be made out more clearly, attesting to the frequency with which artists correct or discard their own ideas.
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Friedrich von Amerling
Self-portrait, 1880/1881
Oil on canvas
height 66,2 cm, width 52,5 cm
Inv.-No. GE2442
Further works on display
Portrait of the Sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), 1843
Portrait of Princess Marie Franziska von Liechtenstein (1834-1909) at the Age of Two, 1836
Portrait of Princess Karoline von Liechtenstein (1836-85) at the Age of One and a Half, 1837
Portrait of Princess Sophie von Liechtenstein (1837-99) at the Age of about One and a Hall, 1838
Oil sketch for the Portrait of the Future Prince Johann II von Liechtenstein (1840-1929) on a White Poney, 1844/1845
Portrait of the Future Prince Johann II von Liechtenstein (1840-1929) on a White Pony, 1845
Portrait of the Painter Peter Fendi (1796-1842), 1833
Study of the Head of a Bearded Man
Lost in her Dreams, 1835
Portrait of Elise Kreuzbereger, 1837
Girl with Straw Hat, 1835
Portrait of Prince Victor Odescalchi (1833–1880) in Greek costume at the age of five, 1838
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Artwork of the Month / January – December 2009
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