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Otto Franz Scholderer, Portrait of the Artist's Wife

Key facts
Full title Portrait of the Artist's Wife
Artist Otto Franz Scholderer
Artist dates 1834 - 1902
Date made probably 1872-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 31.6 × 40 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Dr J.V. Scholderer, son of the painter, 1971
Inventory number NG6400
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of the Artist's Wife
Otto Franz Scholderer

Scholderer made several portraits of Luise Steurwaldt, whom he married in London in 1872. Here he has portrayed her almost in profile, leaning back against a shawl draped over her chair. She holds a Japanese fan on her lap but looks straight ahead as though lost in thought. The palette is almost monochrome, consisting of greys and creams with a hint of golden beige in the shawl and the background which is echoed in Luise’s auburn hair.

This work is closely related to Scholderer’s larger and much more highly finished painting (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt) in which Luise wears the same costume but holds a European fan, rather than the Japanese one shown here. The Frankfurt painting, for which this may be a study, is dated 1873 and was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1875. In it Luise reclines against her silvery striped shawl but turns to face the viewer, directly meeting our gaze.

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