"Portret van Hedwig Nijhoff-Selldorff"
PORTRAIT OF HEDWIG NIJHOFF-SELLDORFF
Oil on canvas
183 x 63 cm.
Signed: upper right with monogram ‘List’
Provenance: Donated by mrs. H. Nijhoff-Selldorff to the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, January 1940: Auct. Sotheby's, Amsterdam, March 2005, lot no. 235; Art Gallery Marius Sterrenburg, Amsterdam; Private collection, The Netherlands.
Wilhelm List was a much appreciated member of the Wiener Secession. He received many commissions for portraits and made symbolistic landscapes. The woman in this painting is Hedwig Nijhoff-Selldorff, in her early twenties. She was born in 1892 in Austria, close to Vienna, in a Jewish family. She studied art history. Hedwig moved in January 1929 to The Netherlands, where she got married to the Dutch bookseller and publisher Wouter Nijhoff. Hedwig probably took her portrait with her to The Netherlands. The marriage unfortunately ended in 1935, and when Hedwig returned to Vienna she probably left the painting in The Netherlands. After her temporary stay in The Hague (1938-1940), the painting was donated to the Gemeentemuseum (The Hague) in January 1940. Hedwig moved to the United States to work as the curator of Dutch art at the Art Institute in Chicago, and later to teach at the New York University and the New School. She passed away in 1978.