Portrait of the Actress Fanny Janauschek, Arnold Böcklin
Arnold Böcklin
Portrait of the Actress Fanny Janauschek
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preliminary drawing

Böcklin, Arnold: Bildnis Fanny Janauschek, schwarze Kreide auf blauem Papier, um 1861, Inv.-Nr. HZ 3350, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt

Arnold Böcklin

Portrait of the Actress Fanny Janauschek, 1861

180 x 104.3 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1934, property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 5


About the Work

Loved and adored – Fanny Janauschek was a star of the stage. Böcklin met the Frankfurter actress in 1861, during a guest-performance in Weimar. This is where he painted this larger-than-life portrait. It neither emphasizes her celebrated beauty, nor is it a dramatic portrait of her in character. The enigmatic mime seems reserved rather than theatrical. Böcklin succeeded in stressing the actress’s particular qualities: Being a tragedienne, she perfectly incorporates a maximum of suffering.

About the Acquisition

In 1934 there was an opportunity to purchase Arnold Böcklin's portrait of Fanny Janauschek for 27,000 marks. Swarzenski, the director of the Städel, had already been dismissed from his municipal offices because of his Jewish faith. In a special publication dedicated to the portrait, Swarzenski discussed the painterly approach to this monumental likeness. The subject was a celebrated actress in the nineteenth century, having achieved her breakthrough during her early years in Frankfurt. The purchase of Böcklin's work marked the end of the series of acquisitions by the Museums-Verein for some time. Not until 1957, almost a quarter of a century later, was the museum association able to resume its activities, which had come virtually to a standstill during the Second World War.


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