Semi Nude portrait of a lady by Franz Xaver Kosler (Vienna 1864 – 1905)

£ 8500

Oil on canvas. Signed “Franz Kosler” lower right. Circa 1880, in probably its original gilded frame, with old collection label and exhibition/inventory numbers on the reverse.
58 x 42 cm (frame 72 x 56 cm).
Provenance: Private collection in Germany.

Ref: 24513

Notes: Franz Kosler born in Vienna on 16th August 1864 was one of the most celebrated Orientalist painters of his generation, depicting richly coloured and intricately detailed genre scenes and tender close-up portraits, this can be seen In the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum collection in Linz, however his more delicate portraits also display an ability to capture emotion. Kosler often captures his sitters in profile or modestly glancing down.
His artistic career began in 1881 when he joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He studied under the leading Orientalist Leopold Carl Müller (1834-1892), whose influence can be seen in Kosler’s paintings. Kosler died young in 1905 aged just 41.
In 1886 Kosler toured Dalmatia, Montenegro and Albania, and in 1892, encouraged by Müller, he made the first of several visits to Egypt. Over the next few years Kosler often spent the winter in Egypt and his first collective exhibition was held in Cairo. This brought him rapid fame and success, and several portrait commissions including one from Prince Said Halim Pasha, grandson of Mehemet Ali Pasha, and the future Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. This Egyptian Prince also bought other works by Kosler including one entitled ‘Fellaheen with Child’. Kosler returned to Egypt in the winter months of 1895 and in the same year painted two portraits of Archduke Ferdinand Karl in Vienna. In 1896 he painted the portrait of Countess Palfy-Schilippenback.
As well as exhibiting in England, Kosler exhibited for the first time in Vienna in 1895 and became a member of the Society of Artist Painters in 1901. He went on to participate regularly in the Viennese salons for the next few years. He also exhibited at the Munich Glass Palace in 1899. Kosler’s death on 15th December 1905 put an end to a promising career.
Kosler’s style is very reminiscent of his teacher, Müller, in his technical mastery and skilful representation of light. Kosler’s style may also be likened to Arthur Ferraris, also an Austrian Orientalist. He painted in clear colours with close attention to detail. All figures in his work are treated with the same technique and ability that he applied to his beautifully executed portraits, as can be seen with this remarkable painting we have for sale here.
In Egypt he opened a one-man exhibition in Cairo in 1894. The show was a great success and secured Kosler many wealthy Egyptian clients including Prince Said Halim Pasha, the grandson of Mehemet Ali Pasha, the future Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who commissioned a series of portraits from the artist. Kosler’s portrait commissions were not limited to Egyptian society. He also painted the Archduke Ferdinand Karl in Vienna and other wealthy individuals, such as Countess Palfy-Schilippenback who sat for the artist in 1896. Whilst in Egypt Kosler made acquaintances with a number of influential European art collectors. These connections encouraged Kosler to exhibit at the Glass Palace in Munich in 1899 and at the Royal Academy in London, where he exhibited The Blind Beggar and Vegetable Sellers, Cairo in 1903. Kosler also found fame in his home country regularly exhibiting in the Viennese salons from 1895, becoming a member of the Society of Artist Painters a few years later in 1901.
The appearance of his works at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1906, shortly after his death, demonstrates Kosler’s popularity amongst the English public. Even today, many of his paintings are owned by private English collectors.