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.
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.
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 successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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