2 Items in this Learning Collection

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Portrait of a Lady

Accession Number

Portrait of a Lady

Johann Tischbein

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

41 1/4 in x 36 1/2 in (104.78 cm x 92.71 cm);41 1/4 in x 36 1/2 in (104.78 cm x 92.71 cm)

Subject matter
Johann Valentin Tischbein was a member of a prosperous Saxony-based family of artists. Tischbein spent time in the Netherlands working in Maastricht in 1747 and then at the Hague in 1750, before settling in Kassel as a court painter.
We do not know the sitter of this portrait, but from her elaborate dress we may assume that she was a young woman of rank in the region near Kassel. This painting is unusual in that it has never been relined (the process of adding a second canvas behind the original to give it support and strength) and preserves the freshness of the brushwork, particularly in the areas of the lace where the delicate impasto is frequently lost during relining.

Physical Description
An elegantly attired young woman is shown in a half-length portrait. Her hands are crossed in front of her at the wrist and she holds a partially open folding fan in her right hand. Her blue silk dress has long lace cuffs and a lace overlay at the shoulders and bodice. The bodice is also ornamented with silk bows of matching silk. At her neck is an elaborate pearl and lace choker; she has a matching pearl bracelet and seed pear earring. Her haif carries the blue of dress in the ornamentation at the crown of her head. Ribbons from her hair ornament cascade down either side of her bosom.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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fans (costume accessories)
figures (representations)

8 Related Resources

Fashion and Adornments in Global History
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Write for Understanding Tour Overview
(Part of: Writing + Art Enrichment Activities)
Early Modern European Portraits and Self-Fashioning
(Part of 12 Learning Collections)
Portrait of  Lady by Tischbein
(Part of: 18th & 19th Century Western Art)
Unsettling Histories Docent Module
(Part of: Fall 2021 Docent Exhibition Packet)
German inheritance 
(Part of: 18th & 19th Century Western Art)

& Author Notes

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On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 1st floor ➜ 103 (Marvin H. Davidson Gallery)