Franz von Stuck(1863 - 1928)
Painter, architect, designer, photographer, and a founder of the Munich Secession, Franz von Stuck was a leading figure in Symbolism as an international movement at the turn of the 20th century. Perhaps best known as the author of allegorical or mythological paintings of single and grouped nudes– including subjects with erotic overtones, such as Sin of 1893 (Munich, Neue Pinakothek)– one of Stuck’s greatest achievemnets is his Villa in Munich, now a museum. He conceived the magnificent structure and its contents as a Gesamstkunstwerk (or total work of art) comprising futniture and many individual artworks, in addition to the building itself.
Recent investigations into Stuck’s achievements and working methods have explored the artist’s use of photographs as tools in composing portraits. Some of these photographs were compiled in an album by Stuck, along with reproductions of the paintings (Exh. cat. Munich 1996 Franz von Stuck und die Photographie Munich 1996, pp. 106-108). The present drawing of the artist’s daughter, Mary, based on one or more photographs, belongs to a series of works in which Mary’s face is presented frontally, filling the frame of the paiting or sheet in a way that gives the image an uncanny iconic power. (Examples include Daughter Mary in a Bonnet with Blue Ribbons, ca. 1910, oil on panel, 31.1 x 31.1 cm, private collection; Mary in Red, ca. 1906, oil on panel, 42.5 x 37.3 cm, Art Market 2005). Stuck’s paintings and colored drawings of his lovely daughter, dressed in a wide variety of contempoarary and historical costumes, were highly sought after by collectors during the artist’s lifetime. Black and white draiwngs such as the present work appear to be more rare than the works in color. The absence of any adormment except the hair ribbons may suggest that this drawing played an intermediate role in Suck’s working procedures, between the photograph and paintings.
Franz von Stuck was devoted to his daughter Mary, born in 1896 to Anna Maria Brandmair, a baker with whom the then unmaried Stuck had a brief affair. After his marriage to Mary Lindpaintner in 1897, Stuck sought to adpot the infant, but it was not until 1904 that he received permission from the Bavarian Prince Regent to offically adopt his daughter.
We thank Dr. Margot Brandlhuber, Villa Stuck, München, for kindly confirming the authenticity of this work.