Hugo Von Bouvard, Portrait Of Wilhelm Reckler 1917



  • £3,200.00
  • €3,637 Euro
  • $3,960 US Dollar

United Kingdom

Hoarde Vintage Member since 2022
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Painted on the front lines of the First World War, this unusual portrait of a non-commissioned officer by Hugo von Bouvard makes a striking aesthetic statement and stands as a significant piece of 20th century art and history.
Hugo Ritter von Bouvard (1879-1959) was born in Vienna, Austro-Hungary. In 1908 he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and in 1913 began studying in France. The outbreak of the First World War saw him recalled to his homeland and commissioned as a war artist with the rank of Captain (Hauptmann).
In those days of total war, artists were sent to the front lines as part of the propaganda system. They were expected to depict brave and noble soldiers vanquishing the nation’s enemies. Hugo von Bouvard, like his contemporary and colleague, Austrian artist John Quincy Adams, he adopted a more contemplative approach; he painted landscapes, and restful scenes showing guards standing watch. He painted the war as he saw it.
This is also where he began to move into portraiture, where he achieved most success following the war; and here, we present one of his earliest known portraits. It was painted in the small village of Zoreri on the Italian Front, in the wake of the 10th Battle of Isonzo in June 1917, but the work does not portray patriotic valour or the desolation of mechanized warfare. Rather, von Bouvard’s attention turns to a senior sergeant (Zugführer) in the 1st Tyrolean Rifles, named Wilhelm Reckler.
Although the artist was later commissioned to paint portraits of many senior commanders, the subject of this early work is a member of the Other Ranks, one of von Bouvard’s immediate colleagues on the front lines. The veteran squints into the Italian sun, medals on his chest and Tyrolean pipe clamped between his teeth.
After the War, von Bouvard became a noted portraitist and member of the Vienna Secessionist Movement. He fled to the United Kingdom when the Nazis took power, but returned to Vienna and lived out his final years there following the end of hostilities.
Oil on card. Framed, signed and dated.
The frame: 50cm wide, 67cm high
The picture: 46cm wide, 62cm high
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  • H: 67cm (26.38in)
  • W: 50cm (19.69in)



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