Teodora Ūdera portreti Marburgā
Portraits by Teodors Ūders in Marburg
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In autumn 2015, while visiting retired professor of architecture Georg Solms in Marburg (Germany), a number of unknown or completely forgotten works by the Valmiera-based harsh symbolist Teodors Ūders (1868–1915) came to light. There were 16 works in all by this artist known as the ‘great stranger’ and ‘epic portrayer of the peasant theme in Latvian graphic art’ – twelve oval copies in pastel, three larger rectangular original pastels and one Indian ink drawing. The value of this find is increased by the fact that no previous information existed on Ūders having ever worked in this technique, which he probably learned at the Alexander Stieglitz Central School of Technical Drawing in St. Petersburg. In the portrait copies and original pastels created roughly about 1907, Ūders has captured several generations of the von Gersdorff family members of the Baltic German nobility of the 18th–20th century. These works demonstrate echoes of Rococo, Biedermeier and more romanticist moods. The von Gersdorffs owned an old von Rosen family property – Augstrozes (Hochrosen) Manor and the neighbouring small Dauguļi (Daugeln) Manor – in the Latvian part of Livland in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century. The von Gersdorffs managed the latter manor till the Agrarian Reform in Latvia in the early 1920s. Initially the portrait copies were located in the salon of the Dauguļi manor house. Alongside copies, there are original works portraying Carlos Georg Heinrich von Gersdorff (1815–1869) and his wife Angelique von Zoeckell (1827–1900); the most interesting is the portrait of Alexandrine von Gersdorff (1870–1946), the only one created during the depicted person’s lifetime. The side view of a young, reservedly elated woman in light tones, reminding us of a low relief image with accurately captured facial features, is a lyrical accomplishment untypical of Ūders. The Gersdorff family portraits were possibly commissioned because the originals or at least some of them were in bad condition due to age or other causes. It could also be that the originals were located elsewhere but the Gersdorffs of the Dauguļi Manor wished to see their ancestors on a daily basis.
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