The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

High Society: The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter

Sunday, Apr. 17, 2016 – Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016

 Franz X. Winterhalter, Madame Rimsky-Korsakov, 1864, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, on permanent loan from the Louvre.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, the 19th century's most renowned portraitist of European aristocracy, captured the elegance and opulence of his distinguished sitters with an unrivaled brilliance. The comprehensive exhibition High Society: The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter presents a selection of these canvases, complemented by select items of clothing by sought-after fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth and several of Worth's contemporaries. This major survey features works drawn from public, private, and royal collections around the world.

The German-born Winterhalter (1805–1873) gained popularity in Paris and became the preferred portraitist of England's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and his services were eventually in much demand throughout Europe. He was celebrated for his ability to capture likenesses and for his superb rendering of textures and fashionable details.

Although many of Winterhalter’s iconic portraits of European nobility predate the entry of couturier Worth (1825–1895) into the field of fashion, their client lists among elegant women of the European courts overlapped. High Society showcases some 50 of Winterhalter's magnificent paintings, along with glamorous evening gowns and other couture garments from the period.

Image: Franz X. Winterhalter, Madame Rimsky-Korsakov, 1864, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, on permanent loan from the Louvre.

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