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The Music Room of Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn)

Julius Helfft1849

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
New York, United States

The music room of Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn), pianist, composer and elder sister of the more renowned composer, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, was in the Hensel residence at no. 3 Leipzigerstrasse in Berlin. Well before her marriage and continuing for many years afterward, Fanny organized and programmed small musical gatherings which took place in this room. The room is dominated by a grand piano. The walls are hung with a collection of paintings. A desk and sewing table are placed to catch the sunlight. Simple white curtains at the windows, potted plants on the windowsills, and the bare floor suggest summertime. A large cross is placed on a table in front of a pier mirror.

Details

  • Title: The Music Room of Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn)
  • Creator: Julius Eduard Wilhelm Helfft
  • Date Created: 1849
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Thaw Collection, Gift of Eugene Victor Thaw Art Foundation
  • Medium: Brush and watercolor, graphite on paper
  • Signed: Lower left: J. Helfft 1849
  • Provenance: Eugene V. Thaw Collection; Villa Grisebach, Berlin, Auction 125-128, lot 111; Frau Dr. Luise Hackelsberger, Ebenhausen, Germany
  • Paper Support: Paper
  • Exhibitions: New York - Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, House Proud: Nineteenth-Century Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection, August 12, 2008-January 25, 2009.New York - The Jewish Museum, The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons, March 4-July 10, 2005, 43 [Illus.]
  • Dimensions: Frame H x W x D: 39.7 x 50.2 x 2.5 cm (15 5/8 x 19 3/4 x 1 in.)Sheet: 23.4 x 30 cm (9 3/16 x 11 13/16 in.)
  • Bibliography: Gail S. Davidson et al., House Proud, Nineteenth-Century Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection (New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 2008), 69, fig. 59; 109, pl. 41.This watercolor has been reproduced several times in bibliographies of Fanny Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

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