Thérèse Schwartze | Portret van Christine Auguste Mayer-Leiden | Kunsthandel Bies

Schwartze, Th. | A portrait of Christine Auguste Mayer-Leiden

Thérèse Schwartze

1851 – Amsterdam – 1918

A portrait of Christine Auguste Mayer-Leiden

Oil on canvas  225 x 130 cm

Signed and dated ’93 lower left


Bonn, Museum König, on loan 1985-2001
Heino/Wijhe, Museum de Fundatie/Kasteel Het Nijenhuis, Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918): De Nederlandse Fine Fleur geportretteerd, 12 February – 13 June 2011

W. van Lith, I. Montijn, Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918): De Nederlandse Fine Fleur geportretteerd, Zwolle 2011, p. 48, ill. 38


Interest in drawing and painting was kindled in Thérèse Schwartze early on. Her father Johann Georg Schwartze was a portrait painter. He started to prepare Thérèse for life as an artist at young age. This resulted in her receiving her first portrait assignments at age fifteen. Although she was very young, she already worked for important, (noble) Amsterdam families: Van Loon, Borski and Sillem. And it would not end with only a few portraits. The Van Loon family would become one of her most important clients. Family members from four different generations were immortalised by Schwartze. Later on the families Labouchère, Van Tienhoven and the Dutch royal family would follow. Schwartze portrayed, amongst others, Queen Regent Emma, Queen Wilhelmina together with Prince Hendrik and the young Princess Juliana.

Already during her life Schwartze was an internationally renowned painter and she received countless awards. She exhibited her paintings at exhibitions in Paris, Barcelona, Munich and Chicago. Thanks to her excellent reputation she was invited to paint a self portrait for the portrait gallery in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence in 1888. With this painting she won the gold medal at the International Exhibtion in Paris in 1889.

Until 1885 Schwartze painted mainly in oil. Influenced by Impressionism her style developed from a very accurate representation in relatively dark colours to looser, smoother painting with a lighter palette. In 1881 she started to experiment with pastel and thus she became one of the pioneers in the Netherlands working with this technique. She was able to work quite quickly in pastel, which was ideal for children’s portraits. The impressive virtuosity she developed received universal acclaim. Typically her pastel portraits are thoroughly worked out in faces and hands, while clothing and backgrounds are painted in a looser stroke. Furthermore, Schwartze excellently rendered fabrics of clothing items, such as bows, ruffles, lace and tulle.

The woman in this portrait is Christine Auguste Mayer-Leiden, born 23 July 1855 in Cologne and passed away in 1939. Her parentage was aristocratic. Her father was Franz Leiden (1820-1891), a trader in champagne and the Dutch Consul in Moscow. Her mother was a Russian princess, Wilhelmine de Prene (1837-1873). On September 3 1879 Christine Auguste Leiden married Carl Eduard Mayer (1850-1923). They had two children, Kurt and Martha.

It is known in Christine’s family that Thérèse Schwartze was a close friend of hers and her husband. Schwartze often was a guest at villa Mayer-Leiden. The family even set up a studio for Schwartze in one of the rooms of the villa. The painter could use this studio whenever she visited. In 1893, during one of her stays at the villa, she painted this work in that specially created studio.



Additional Information


Oil paintings




Figure, Portrait

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