L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Winterhalter and Eugénie - le chapeau de paille - 1857

This portrait of the Empress - Winterhalter's fifth, if I count correctly - was commissioned by Eugénie, herself, and given to comte Félix Bacciochi, the Emperor's cousin and First Chamberlain of the court. Part of the preserved collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post, it hangs in the drawing room of her Hillwood estate in Washington D.C.

The frame - with Imperial eagle, mantle, and crown - is original to the painting.
The drawing room at Hillwood.
Like most royal portraits of the time, the painting was engraved for reproduction.


Interestingly - OK, interesting to me, anyway - the straw hat that gives this painting its informal title was first considered for use in Winterhalter's masterpiece, the vast painting of the Empress surrounded by her dames du palais. It can be seen in this preliminary sketch:

The finished painting: l'Impératrice Eugénie entourée de ses dames d'honneur, 1855.


  1. God how I love Winterhalter's work. Ravishingly romantic.

  2. So do I. And I have always been a fervent fan of Empress Eugénie. This is one of my favorite portraits of Her. I also love the last one he did of Her, the one with the pearl necklace, that hangs in the Second Empire museum in Compiègne.