Portrait of Dr. Elisabeth Winterhalter, Ottilie W. Roederstein
Ottilie W. Roederstein
Portrait of Dr. Elisabeth Winterhalter
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Ottilie W. Roederstein

Portrait of Dr. Elisabeth Winterhalter, 1887 – 1888

102.1 x 82 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1952 as a bequest from Elisabeth H. Winterhalter
Not on display


About the Work

Here, Ottilie W. Roederstein shows her friend and later life partner Elisabeth H. Winterhalter sitting at her desk. The quill in hand, the open book, a skull and a glass vial as well as other books on the shelf identify Winterhalter as a natural scientist and physician. She had studied medicine in liberal Switzerland, resp. Zurich, since 1885. Roederstein deliberately chose to depict her in striking similarity of the composition to Renaissance scholar portraits, for example to Hans Holbein the Younger’s portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam. Thus, differing largely from the type of elegant and pompously decorated lady portraits customary in the 19th century. It confidently expresses the claim to education and equality in a male-dominated society, as women were still denied access to universities until the turn of the century in large parts of Europe.

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