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Painting and Graphic Art

Portrait of Charlotte Kestner

Key data

Anselm Feuerbach, Basel/Rome, 1867

Oil on canvas

H 138 cm, W 100 cm

Inv. 1954.83.


This large, three-quarter portrait shows Charlotte Kestner (1788–1877) aged almost eighty. The daughter of Charlotte Kestner, née Buff, the woman whom Goethe immortalized as Lotte, Charlotte was born and raised in Hanover. When the wife of her older brother Karl Kestner died, twenty-year-old Charlotte moved to Alsace to take care of the couple’s two young children. After her brother’s death in 1846, she moved to Basel to live with her niece, Caroline, who was one of the two children she had raised. From then on, she spent the winter months of every year at the Haus zum Kirschgarten at Elisabethenstrasse 27, where Caroline and her husband lived. The portrait is the work of Anselm Feuerbach (1829–1880), who at the time he painted it was already an established painter based in Rome. He painted it during two stays in Basel, albeit not to the satisfaction of the sitter.

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Basel Historical Museum
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