Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Therese Karl), Fritz von Uhde
Fritz von Uhde
Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Therese Karl)
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Fritz von Uhde

Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Therese Karl), 1890

121 x 101.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 595
Object Number
Aquired in 1937. In 2022 restituted to the heirs of Gustav Rüdenberg and repurchased in 2023
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 5


About the Work

This likeness of his favourite model, "Therese Karl", is one of the few portraits the artist ever painted. Uhde was generally known for his religious and genre-like scenes. Therese was a dancer at the Royal Court Theatre Ballet in Munich and probably also Uhde's mistress. In spite of the melancholy pose and black dress enlivened by delicate light reflexes falling through the airy white curtain, the young woman looks relaxed and anything but gloomy. Standing between Realism and Impressionism, Uhde masterfully captures the different textures, which lend the painting its lightness and transparency.

About the Acquisition

This painting, acquired in Spring 1937, was formerly owned by Gustav Rüdenberg (1886–1942), a private collector, persecuted by the Nazi regime for being Jewish. Rüdenberg owned a flourishing mail-order business for cameras and optical instruments in Hanover. Because the Nazi Regime curtailed his freedom and placed him under increasing economic pressure, he had to sell several key works from his collection, including the "Portrait of a Lady". By December 1938, having also been forced to sell their home, and unable to emigrate, he and his wife Elsbeth Therese Rüdenberg (1886–1942), moved into a rented apartment. In the fall of 1941, they were forcibly transferred to the Jewish ghetto while their remaining assets and belongings were seized by the Reich. On December 15, 1941, they were deported to the Riga Ghetto, where they were murdered. The "Portrait of a Lady" was restituted to their heirs in 2022. Thanks to their generosity, the Museum was able to reacquire it. This plaque shall honor the lives and fate of Gustav and Elsbeth Therese Rüdenberg, of blessed memory, and all those murdered by the Nazis.

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