Conrad Kiesel ( Germany 1846-1921) was the son of the Royal High School Director in Düsseldorf, Germany. Kiesel was a versatile artist who originally studied architecture and trained in sculpture. However, he turned to painting, during his time in Berlin, under Fritz Paulsen, later attending the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Kiesel was commonly known for his society portraits in the late 19th Century. He preferred to depict young beautiful women often seen in rich interiors. During this time, some would argue that he was one of the best portrait painters and he won several gold medals at exhibitions. His artwork was shown in the Düsseldorf Academy, the Munich Glass Palace, the World Exhibition in Paris 1900, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the World Exhibition in Rome and Vienna.
These two gouache paintings reflect his mastery as well as his love for the finer things. One portrait depicts a young red-headed woman, thin and graceful, leisurely reading a letter in what appears to be a study or living space, with expressions of demure content and excitement. The artist uses muted neutral colors with hints of blue that draw the eye towards the woman. There is very little open space, however, due to the coloring, the subject clearly becomes the main focus.
The second portrait has an assiduous dark brown-headed lady reading a book in a library. Her pale skin contrasts beautifully with the dark browns that fill the space. While the library is full of sharp shapes, this woman’s body is delicate and soft, making her seem peaceful and radiant.
Vertical lines emphasize the grandiosity and height of both portraits. Each portrait captures an elegant lady comfortably and gracefully going about her day in a tranquil Victorian interior. Having the same color palette, subject matter, style, and dimensions make both paintings a complimentary pair for the same room. The contrast in rooms, activities, and ladies offers the options for placing them in separate rooms. Either way, these elegant ladies would add to the tastefulness of an entryway or living area.
Dimesions with glass frames each: H= 36 in. W= 22 in. D= 1 in. 8 lbs. each Total weight= 16 lbs.