Extremely rare portrait of Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia (1830 Altenburg - 1911 Saint Petersburg), born Princess Alexandra Friederike Henriette of Saxen-Altenburg, futured wife of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich.
was the fifth daughter of Josef Georg Friedrich Carl, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and and Amelia Theresa Luise
Duchess of Wuerttemberg. She married on 11 September 1848 Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia, second son of Nicholas I of Russia and brother of Tsar Alexander II .
It was said that Alexandra looked so much like her husband´s sister, the Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolayevna, who died in childbirth, that her mother-in-law burst into tears at their first meeting. Konstantin and Alexandra had 6 children.
Grand Duke Constantin Nikolaevich of Russia
(1827 - 1892)-in Russian: Константин Николаевич
; was the second son of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.During the reign of his brother Alexander II, Constantin was an admiral of the Russian fleet and reformed the .Russian Navy He was also an instrumental figure in the emansipation of the serfs.. He was less fortunate as viceroy of Poland and had to be recalled to Russia where he was attacked for his liberalism. After the assassination of his brother, Alexander II, Constantin fell from favour. The new tsar, Alexander the III, his nephew, opposed Konstantin’s liberal ideas and gradually stripped him of all his governmental positions. His retirement was marked with personal turmoil and family setbacks. After suffering a stroke, he spent his last years as an invalid. More detailled history of Constantin and Alexandra can be find on : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Constantine_Nikolaevich_of_Russia
It´s known , portaits of Alexandra were created by two world-renowed portratists of 19 century J.K.Stieler and F.X.Winterhalter (image of portrait by Winterhalter see in Wilkipedia Image Database under: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Iosifovna_of_Altenburg ).
Our painting was purchased from the property of Royal House of Hanover ( important Century-auction of Sotheby´s in the Castle Marienburg "Works of Art from the Royal House of Hanover", 5 - 15 October 2005, Lot 1904) . Due to the perfect quality of this portrait we attributed it to the hand of one of the best european portrait painters of 19 century Joseph Karl Stieler (1781 Mainz - 1858 Munich). This painting as original work by Joseph Karl Stieler was illustrated in the Wikimedia Commons Image Database : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Stieler_Alexandra_Iosifovna.jpg . Our deduction based also on comparison with two another famous paintings by J.K. Stieler :
"Portrait of Princess Alexandra Friederike Henriette of Saxen-Altenburg", futured Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna held in the hands a memory watercolour , depicting portrait of her husband Konstantin (for image see additional photo) and
" The Family Portrait of the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg" (family members regard mentioned above Stieler´s portrait of Alexandra (this work situated in the Eremitage, St.Petersburg) , image can be find on : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Joseph_Karl_Stieler_001.jpg
Joseph Karl Stieler (1781 Mainz —1858 Munich) began his career as a painter of miniatures.His portrait style was most especially shaped during his work in the Parisian Atelier of Franz Gerard a student of Jaquie -Louis David .In 1808 he established himself as an independent portratist in Frankfurt on Main. He traveled through Italy in 1810. In 1816, he traveled to Vienna to paint the portrait of Emperor Fracis I of Austria. Between February and April 1820, he worked on his portrait of Beethoven, which is probably the most well-known representation of the composer today. Stieler worked mainly in the service of the Bavarian court. His painted likenesses in Schloss Nympfenburg, Schönheitgalerie, the so-called Gallery of Beauties, were commissioned by King Ludwig I. Stieler also painted the portraits of Goethe, Amalie of Greece, Friedrich Wilhelm Josef von Schelling, Johann Ludwig Thieck and Alexander von Humbold.He died at Munich . The most distinguishing feature of Stieler´s portraits is its utter focus on the sitter. Decorative additions are left out, and there is nothing that distracts the viewer´s scrutiny. Stieler accomplished this concentration through deliberate light-dark contrast, which above all highlights the accurately characterized facial features.
Literature : Thieme/Becker "Arist Lexicon (in german); Cataloque of the Century-auction of Sotheby´s in the Castle Marienburg "Works of Art from the Royal House of Hanover", 5 - 15 October 2005, Lot 1904); Monography "Konstantin Nikolaevich(in russian), Cataloque of the State Museum Eremitage, St.Petersburg, Russia; Wikipedia Image Database.
Provenance: Royal House of Hanover ( purchased on Century-auction of auction house Sotheby´s in the Castle Marienburg "Works of Art from the Royal House of Hanover", 5 - 15 October 2005, Lot 1904)
Inscription: unsigned , on the reverse few original labels and inscriptions: of the royal property in german "Property of Queen"; Inventory label of the King Palace Marienburg by Hanover ; Name of sitter (in german): "Alexandra Iosefowna, Grossfürstin Constantin von Russland" and Label of Auctionshouse "Sothebys".
Technique: oil on canvas. Luxuriousy original period gold-plated frame.
Measurements: unframed 22 1/2" x 27 1/2" (57 x 70 cm); framed 32 3/4 " x 43 1/4" (83 x110 cm)
Condition: in very good condition