• Natalie Gutgesell
Keywords: Alexandra von Berckholtz, female Baltic artists, portrait, still life, 19th century


The Baltic artist Alexandra von Berckholtz was among the most
important portrait painters of her time. However, her works had
disappeared from art-historical memory because, after her death, they
were sold and spread all over the world. An international research
project started in 2014 was able to rediscover her works and her life
Von Berckholtz was given her first art lessons in 1841 by the court
painter Louis Wagner in Karlsruhe, Germany. From 1847 until 1854
she studied in Paris at the studio of the history painter Joseph-Nicolas
Robert-Fleury, who had considerable influence on her pictorial
style which combined realism and idealism. Another significant
influence was Richard Lauchert, a former student and close friend
of Franz Xaver Winterhalter. Von Berckholtz’s numerous travels,
e.g. to Switzerland, France, and the Czech Republic, were also a
rich source of inspiration. She changed the conventions of nobility
portrait and concentrated on still lifes in her later work, in which
she reflected the Dutch style of the Baroque period. Alexandra von
Berckholtz associated with important personalities from the fields
of art, music, politics, and technology, and was socially active.


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Author Biography

Natalie Gutgesell

Natalie Gutgesell (b. 1972): from 2005 to 2010 studied art history,
theatre and media arts at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
(M. A.); 2014 earned a PhD in art history with a thesis on the role
of German Romantic poet Joseph Victor von Scheffel (1826–1886) as
a visual artist. From 2014 to 2017, she led an international research
project to research Alexandra von Berckholtz’s artistic heritage in a
number of public and private collections. She has curated exhibitions,
for instance, in Karlsruhe and Weimar, lectured at conferences and
universities, for instance, in Munich, Basel, Mainz, and Marburg,
and published monographs and articles on 19th- and 20th-century
art and culture.