portrait of the orbach and des salles children by joseph oppenheimer rp

Portrait of the Orbach and des Salles Children by Joseph Oppenheimer R.P.



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Oil on canvas, in a fine 17th century carved and gitwood leaf and berry frame with a rope twist sight.
Portrait of the Orbach and des Salles children - Gaston and Heloise des Salles, Donald and John Orbach
signed upper left "Joseph Oppenheimer".

JOSEPH OPPENHEIMER (German, 1876-1966) was born in Wurzburg, Germany in 1876. He studied at Munich Academy before travelling to Rome, Naples, London and the USA. By 1896 he had settled in London with a studio at the Pheasantry on the Kings Road, Chelsea. He taught at the London School of Arts.
In 1908 he moved to Berlin with his wife although they returned to England each year. Here he was influenced by the development of Expressionism and the Berlin Secession, an art association founded in 1898 by Berlin artists including Max Liebermann, Kathe Kollwitz and the Vienna Secession with Gustav Klimt.
By this time Oppenheimer was becoming increasingly well-known for his portraits, painting Einstein in 1931. He exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts and Royal Society of Portrait Painters (later becoming a member).
Both in England and in Germany Joseph Oppenheimer became more and more renowned for his paintings and especially his portraits, Famous men and women, and especially beautiful ladies from High Society throughout Europe, but especially in Germany and England, lined up to be painted. Many of his most successful works graced the covers of the ladies' magazines in both countries. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, becoming a member of the latter, allowing him to use R.P. after his name (he was offered Doctorates many times and even a Professorship, but refused them all).
Much of Oppenheimer’s portraiture fame came from his unique style of combining close observation and faithful reproduction of a sitter’s features with a looser, more impressionistic approach to the treatment of the model’s clothing and of the background in an exciting and vigorous impasto.
In 1933, with the rise of Hitler, the Oppenheimers moved back to England and by obtaining British Citizenship he managed to bring his mother and brother to England in 1936. They became British citizens in that year, having been sponsored by the equerry of King George VI, Sir Louis Greig, and a famous British artist, Sir John Lavery. Here he continued as a portrait artist with notable commissions from Yehudi Menuhin, Deborrah Kerr and James Mason. From 1949 he divided his time between London and Canada where his daughter, the artist Eva Prager, lived.
The expressionistic handling of his work can be seen in this family portrait, and similarly in the portrait of "Susanne and Ilse Gottschalk" on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, London. HIs work is also in the National Portrait Gallery and the Oppenheimer-Prager Museum in New Brunswick, Canada is dedicated to his work and that of his daughter.
The Orbach family were close friends of Oppenheimer who painted them on several occasions. There is a portrait of Vera Orbach, painted in 1923, in the Oppenheimer-Prager Museum in Canada. The sitters in this charming portrait are Vera Orbach's two children from her first marriage, Gaston and Heloise des Salles, Donald Orbach, the son of George Orbach from his first marriage and John Orbach, only son of Vera and George Orbach. John, the tallest boy in the portrait, would not stand still for long enough and had to be painted from memory and sketches.
SIZE: 64.5 x54.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Commissioned by the children's parents, George and Vera Orbach, thence by descent
Internal Ref: 8933

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