WINTERHALTER, Franz Xaver
(b. 1805, Menzenschwand, d. 1873, Frankfurt)

Biography

German painter, the most successful court portraitist of his period. He was based in Paris for most of his career, but he painted most of Europe's royalty and was a particular favourite of Queen Victoria, who called him 'excellent, delightful Winterhalter' (the royal collection has more than a hundred of his paintings). His style was romantic, glossy, and superficial and his portraits have until recently generally been valued more as historical records than as works of art. However, a major exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Petit Palais, Paris, in 1987 brought him into the limelight again. Winterhalter was also an accomplished lithographer. His brother Hermann (1808-91) was his assistant. A watercolour by him, A Girl of Frascati (signed but until recently given to his brother), is in the Wallace Collection, London.