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Creator(s): Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Painter)

On view in: French Drawing Room

About this object

Born in Spain in 1826, María Eugenia de Montijo married Napoleon III in 1853. From the time of her marriage, she became an arbiter of fashion. Her elegance is evident in the white crinolined dress she wore for this portrait. Eventually Eugénie grew out of the fashion-plate image and became involved in foreign affairs. She served as regent of the empire on three occasions, roles for which she earned severe criticism. Winterhalter, the most sought-out court portrait painter of the mid-nineteenth century, recorded her legendary beauty and elegance in a series of images that made him the empress’s favorite painter. In this portrait Winterhalter gave full expression to his glamorous manner, which contributed to the romantic image of the Second French Empire.

Portrait is nearly full-length of the Empress Eugénie painted shortly after the birth of her son in 1856. She is posing in an idealized landscape setting. The Empress wears an elaborate low-cut white ruffled dress trimmed with blue ribbons and a large straw hat wrapped with trails of tulle. A dark curl of hair falls over her right shoulder. On her lap is a swag of roses and white flowers, which echoes the ones on her hairdress. The portrait is in its original frame. Oval in shape, it profusely carved with floral swags and twisted ribbons. At the top is an ermine mantle with the imperial eagle in the center topped by a crown.

Object name:
Made from:
Oil on canvas
Made in:
Date made:
H. 54 1/2 in., W. 43 in. (unframed); H. 80 in., W. 60 in., D. 14 1/2 in. (framed)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
SIGNATURE; DATE F Winterhalter 1857 [bottom center of painting, in script] NUMBER 51607X [stencilled on wooden frame] LABEL XIX. Esposiz. Biennale Internaz. d'Arte / di Venezia - 1934 - XII / 355 [On back] LABEL mod. C / XIX ESPOSIZIONE BIENNALE INTERNAZIONALE D'ARTE - VENEZIA 1934 - XII / Nome e cognome Winterhalter / Titolo dell'opera Ritratto dell' Imperatrice Eugenia / Prezzo di vendita / Proprietario Marchese Rosselli del Turco / Indirizzo Via Masaccio, 99 bis - Firenze / Pregasi d'incollare questi cartellini, l'uno sul telaio, l'altro sul retro della cornice, oppure sul fondo della base, se trattasi di scultura [On back] LABEL [...]Y, / Actuellement rue de Rivoli [...] au premier étage / Entre la rue de Rohan [...]helle, en face de l'hôtel / de M. le Ministre d'Etat / Doreur du Ministère d'Etat et de la [...] de l'[...] / Fabrique et magasin de bordu [...]es très-va [...] / ments, de meubles et d'extérieur [...]adremen [...] / et Restauration de Tableaux modernes pour [...] / Expédition pour la France et [...] / Ateliers, rue Pauquet de Villeju[...] Cha[...] / Paris / Paris, imp. Dubuisson [...]
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973