Winterhalter, Franz Xaver

BORN 20 Apr 1805, Mendenschwarz, Schwarzwald (now: part of Sankt Blasien) - DIED 8 Jul 1873, Frankfurt am Main, Hessen: Diakonissen Krankenhaus
GRAVE LOCATION Frankfurt am Main, Hessen: Hauptfriedhof (Gewann C, 123/124)

Franz Xaver Winterhalter was born in Menzenschwand in the Black Forest as the son of the farmer Fidel Winterhalter (1773-1863). He was educated at a Benedictine monastery in Sankt Blasien and learned the profession of graphical artist in Freiburg (1818-1824). Subsequently he studied painting in Munich under Peter von Cornelius and Joseph Stieler.

In 1828 he was engaged as drawing-master by Sophie, margravine of Baden and he moved to Karlsruhe. Supported by the duke of Baden he travelled to Italy in 1833-1834. Back in Karlsruhe he became painter at the grand-ducal court, but he left for France where he soon established a reputation as a portrait painter after he portrayed Louise Marie of Orleans, the queen of Belgium.

In Paris he became court painter to king Louis-Philippe. In 1842 he painted queen Victoria in England, the first of many times. After the fall of Louis-Philippe and the rise of Napoleon III his popularity soared. The empress Eugénie sat for him several times and in 1856 he painted the famous portrait of her and her ladies in waiting (now at Compiègne).

Winterhalter also worked at Russian, German, Mexican and Spanish courts. He lived in France and had a villa in Baden-Baden for his holidays. For all his success, he remained a man of simple tastes. After the Franco-Prussian war he retired to Germany. He painted little during the last years of his life and died of typhus during a visit to Frankfurt am Main. He was was buried at the Hauptfriedhof in that city.

Related persons
• painted Charlotte, empress of Mexico, princess of Belgium
• was pupil of Cornelius, Peter von
• was a friend of Decamps, Alexandre Gabriel
• painted Elisabeth von Bayern, Kaiserin von Österreich
• painted Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Feodora Victoria zu
• painted MacDonell, Marie Claire Emilie, vicomtesse Aguado
• was a friend of Magnus, Eduard
• painted Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico
• painted Napoleon III Bonaparte
• painted Nieuwerkerke, Alfred-Émilien, comte de
• painted Patti, Adelina, Baroness Cederström
• was pupil of Stieler, Joseph
• painted Taglioni, Marie
• painted Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, Princess Royal
• painted Wilhelm I, emperor of Germany


'Napoléon III' by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Musée National du Château de Compiégne, Compiégne).

The grave of Franz Xaver Winterhalter at the Hauptfriedhof, Frankfurt am Main.
Picture by Androom (30 Apr 2013)


"Kaiserin Elisabeth".
(Wien: Hofburg)

'La Duchesse de Morny'.
(Compiègne: Musée National du Château de Compiégne)

"Der Decamerone".
   (1837, Karlsruhe: Staatliche Kunsthalle)

"Selbstporträt des Künstlers mut seinem Bruder Hermann".
   (1840, Karlsruhe: Staatliche Kunsthalle)

"Empress Eugenie of France".
   (1854, Bournemouth: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum)

'L'impératrice Eugénie entourée de ses dames d'honneur'.
   (1855, Compiègne: Musée National du Château de Compiégne)

"Franz Joseph".
   (1865, Wien: Hofburg)

"Königin Olga".
   (1865, Stuttgart: Württembergisches Landesmuseum)

'Kaiserin Elisabeth in Hofgala mit Diamantsternen'.
   (1865, Wien: Kunsthistorisches Museum)

"Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria".

• Haslip, Joan, The Lonely empress, A Biography of Elizabeth of Austria, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1965
• Moos, Günter, Wegweiser durch den Frankfurter Hauptfriedhof, 1994
Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990

Winterstein, Eduard von

Published: 20 May 2007
Last update: 24 Nov 2022