A Fruitful Alliance within Strict Aristocratic Boundaries

  • Wendy Wiertz (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Throughout the nineteenth century, more women were able to establish a professional artistic career and to participate in the art market. However, the majority including most aristocratic women, continued to exercise the arts as a dilettante. This boundary did not prevent amateur portrait painter Antonine de Mun, Duchess d'Ursel (1849-1931) to use art in order to gain honour and status in the Belgian aristocratic circles. The question is how Antonine De Mun applied her art works to enter into a lasting alliance in order to strengthen her own prestige.
For Belgian aristocratic families, it was interesting to have strong alliances with the royals. In the early 1890s, Antonine was introduced to Marie von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Countess of Flanders (1845-1912), mother of the future King Albert I and a dilettante herself. Their alliance was illustrated by gift exchange in which self-made artworks were given to each other. It gained the Duchess d'Ursel a higher status among Belgian nobles.
Period22 May 2013
Event title1st Symposium of the European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art : Uneasy Alliances: Boundaries and Bargains in Nineteenth-Century Art
Event typeConference
LocationAmsterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational