Artist: Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, Menzenschwand 1805–1873 Frankfurt)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 1/2 x 29 in. (92.7 x 73.7 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Claus von Bülow Gift, 1978
Accession Number: 1978.403
Winterhalter began an official portrait of Empress Eugénie (Eugénie de Montijo, Condesa de Teba, 1826-1920) shortly after her marriage in 1853 to Napoleon III, emperor of France, but it was not exhibited until 1855. The present work is, in contrast, relatively intimate in scale and effect. It shows the empress in a Second Empire adaptation of an eighteenth-century gown. Her interest in the previous century, especially her fascination with Marie Antoinette, queen of France from 1774 to 1793, is well documented.