A gifted musician, Fanny Hensel (1805–1847) was the elder sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and granddaughter of the great Jewish philosopher and Enlightenment figure Moses Mendelssohn. Like her brother, she was baptized and raised as a Protestant. Beginning in 1831, she hosted a musical salon that met weekly at her home. She programmed each concert, played the piano, conducted, and composed music. Her husband, the court painter Wilhelm Hensel, collaborated on the visual aspect of the performances. He befriended Moritz Oppenheim, who painted this portrait of his talented wife, when both artists were in Rome during the early 1820s.


  • Title: Portrait of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel
  • Creator: Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
  • Date Created: 1842
  • Location: Germany, Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: 16 15/16 × 14 3/16 in. (43 × 36 cm)
  • Provenance: the artist. [The David Alexander Gallery, Washington, D.C., until 1974; sold to Friedenberg]; Daniel M. Friedenberg, New York, New York (1974-2009; donated to TJM); The Jewish Museum
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: https://thejewishmuseum.org/about-this-site#terms-conditions
  • External Link: View this object at thejewishmuseum.org
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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