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

121.0 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.

Work Data

Basic Information

Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Therese Karl)
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unten rechts: F v Uhde

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Aquired in 1937. In 2022 restituted to the heirs of Gustav Rüdenberg and repurchased in 2023

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions


  • 61BB2(KARL, Therese)(+54) historical person (KARL, Therese) - BB - woman (+ three-quarter length portrait)
  • 48B3 portrait, self-portrait of artist
  • 31D13 adolescent, young woman, maiden
  • 31AA2352 sitting on an elevation - AA - female human figure

Research and Discussion


Object History
Carl Hugo Schmeil (1852-1923), Dresden
Verkauf durch Auktion der Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin an Gustav Rüdenberg (1868-1941), Hannover, 17. Oktober 1916 (Los-Nr. 133)
Verkauf an die Stadt Frankfurt für die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, 1937
Restitution an die Erben nach Gustav Rüdenberg, 2022
Wiederankauf durch das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2023.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

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