SEILERN, Count Antoine (No. 2)

Full length standing as a little boy facing right, dressed in ermine,a rabbit on a string, but the background is dark and not a landscape. Oil on canvas 54” x 28” (137.2 x 71 cm). In the 1940s it would appear the artist altered the position of the right shoe.

Private Collection, Switzerland.

The artist; Otto Müller 1947; his daughter Helen Blaser-Müller to 2010; by Descent.

M. KNOEDLER & CO., 355, Fifth Avenue, New York, December 21, 1910 – January 3, 1911.
FRENCH & CO. INC., 210, East 57th Street, New York, April 21 – May 3, 1947, No. 25.

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Count Antoine Edward Seilern und Anspang was born in Frensham, Surrey, on 17 September 1901. He was the youngest of the three sons of the Austrian Count Carl Seilern und Aspang (1866–1940) and the American heiress Antoinette “Nettie” née Woerishoffer (1875-1901). He therefore enjoyed citizenship of both Austria and the United Kingdom. Muller-Ury was a close friend of his mother and father and he had acted as an usher at their wedding in New York in February 1898, and, along with the other ushers, had been given a gold cigarette box by ‘Carlo’ Seilern by way of thanks. Seilern’s ancestors had been ennobled after successful involvement with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. His father’s sister Ida was married to Phillip Hennessy, whose sister Nora was the wife of the Royal Academician, Lord Methuen. He was both an art collector and an art historian. He was considered to be one of a handful of important collectors who was also a respected scholar. Seilern died in hospital in London in the early hours of 6 July 1978 (31 years to the day after Muller-Ury). He was buried on 13 July in the churchyard in Frensham, Surrey. His family later had the body exhumed and had it re-interred in the family vault at Schloss Schönbühel, approximately 80 km west of Vienna. The bulk of his very important art collection, rich in old masters, particularly Rubens, Tiepolo and Michelangelo Drawings, was bequeathed to the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

This version of the picture, probably created about 1908-1909 for exhibition purposes after the original was despatched to the family, has been cut down in size and until its recent restoration had several large tears and two holes. It is a virtual replica of No. 1 above, excepting that the background to this is darker and there is little evidence of a landscape. It is currently in a frame which is inscribed in pencil in the artist’s writing ‘Mrs Wells, Minneapolis’ which it appears to have been cut down to fit.