Portrait of Helene Roederstein
(The Painter’s Sister), Ottilie W. Roederstein
Ottilie W. Roederstein
Portrait of Helene Roederstein (The Painter’s Sister)
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Ottilie W. Roederstein

Portrait of Helene Roederstein (The Painter’s Sister), 1890

103.4 x 65.4 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1952 as a bequest from Elisabeth H. Winterhalter
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 3


About the Work

Ottilie W. Roederstein’s younger sister Helene repeatedly sat for the painter, especially in the early parts of her career. This painting was created as a classic half-length portrait. However, the canvas was subsequently reduced in size so that the signature and date in the upper right corner are barely visible. The portrait is an outstanding example of Roederstein’s talent. Through the background’s simplicity and the dress’s looser depiction, the artist draws attention to the model’s detailed face as well as its gentle, dreamy expression. Roederstein limited the colouring to a few tones. Light green in all its nuances dominates the composition, while, for example, the white lace collar acts as an accentuation. By superimposing glazing and opaque layers of colour, she virtuously imitates the fabric’s transparency. The violet and pink blossoms that adorn the collar are only hinted at by Roederstein in a few sketchy brushstrokes. Stylistically, the painting belongs to Roederstein’s early work. In addition to French salon painting, the influence of her Parisian teachers Jean-Jacques Henner and Carolus Duran is particularly noticeable.

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