Ludwig Johann PASSINI
(Vienna, 1832 – Venice, 1903)
Portraits of Princess ROSPIGLIOSI and Baroness BAUDE,
born NOMPERE de CHAMPAGNY
Signed and dated lower right
47 x 36 cm
Son of the painter-engraver Johann Nepomuk PASSINI (1798-1874), Ludwig was born on July 9, 1832 in Vienna.
The young PASSINI spent his childhood first in Vienna where he acquired from his father the first rudiments of drawing. He then entered the Vienna Academy with the masters PETTER, Joseph von FÜHRICH, Leopold KUPELWIESER and ENDER, then at the Leipzig Academy under the teaching of Carl WERNER.
In the 1850s, the PASSINI family moved to Trieste. Ludwig then took the opportunity to study in Venice in the studio of his previous teacher Werner. He then used to accompany him on his study tours to Italy.
Between 1853 and 1870, we find PASSINI in Rome. He married Anna WARSAW in 1864. He had a daughter who died one year and a half after the marriage.
He returned to Venice around 1873 where he finally settled down with the exception of a few visits to Berlin to present his Venetian watercolors. In 1874 he was mentioned as a member of the Berlin Academy. At the Universal Exhibition of 1878 in Paris, PASSINI was present in the Italian section. The critics of the time felt that PASSINI's work had saved the quality of the Italian art presented.
In Venice, PASSINI occupied for thirty years a workshop in the Vendramin Calergi Palace which he shared with his colleagues Carlo REICHARDT and Luigi MION. A friend of PASSINI was the exiled Richard WAGNER, who died at the Palais Vendramin Calergi in 1883. PASSINI, with his artist friend WOLKOFF, suggested the creation of a death mask in tribute to the virtuoso musician. The idea was first rejected by WAGNER's wife, Cosima, who eventually gave way. The mask was made by PASSINI and the sculptor Augusto BENVENUTI.
PASSINI also participated in the organization of the first Venice Biennial of 1895. In fact, during the establishment of this Biennale in 1893, the mayor of Venice, Riccardo SELVATICO, received a council of a college of international artists of which PASSINI was part until hatching of the project.
The art of watercolor was perfectly mastered by PASSINI as noted criticism of the time. Ludwig HEVESI, a Viennese author and critic, mentioned PASSINI as "the main painter of Venice watercolor ... who quickly grew to become the most important genre painter" (Hevesi, Ludwig (1903), Austrian Art of the 19th Century , part 2: 1848-1900, Seemann, Leipzig, p.236)
In the same vein, the art historian Wilhelm LÜBKE described the work of PASSINI as follows: "One can find admirable images of characters ... in the masterful watercolors of Ludwig Passini, with their superbly finished colors" (Lübke, Wilhelm (1878), Outlines of the History of Classic Art, Dodd Mead, p.264
Ludwig PASSINI was a medalist on numerous occasions and internationally: Paris in 1870, Vienna in 1873, Munich in 1879, Vienna in 1888 and Berlin in 1896. His works were also exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colors in London. He became an honorary member of this British institution in 1883.
In 1879 PASSINI became honorary professor of the Vienna Academy. He was also a member of the Venice Academy.
PASSINI was knighted the Legion of Honor in 1878 and received in 1893 the Bavarian Order of Maximilian for Art and Science.
Ludwig PASSINI died November 6, 1903 in Venice.
Museums: Breslau, Hamburg, Vienna ...
Concerning the represented models, it is about two sisters, daughters of Louis Alix NOMPERE de CHAMPAGNY (1796-1870), ambassador in Rome from 1861:
- Seating in black: Françoise Jeanne de NOMPERE de CHAMPAGNY (Paris, 1825 - Florence, 1899) who married in Rome in 1846 Prince Clemente ROSPIGLIOSI (1823-1897). She held a salon in Rome and was a great friend of Franz LITZ. There is also an unpublished correspondent from 1868 to 1885 between the princess and the musician.
- Standing in white: Marie Adélaïde de NOMPERE de CHAMPAGNY (Pisa, 1838 - Cannes, 1922) who married in Rome in 1863 Baron Georges Napoléon BAUDE, attaché of embassy in Rome between 1850 and 1866 then ambassador of France.