Eng Rus
Lot 128:
30000 35000
PORTRAIT OF PETER FÜRST ZU SAYAN-WITTGENSTEIN-BERLEBURG, 1858. Oil on canvas. 74,0 x 60,0 cm; 106,0 x 91,0 cm (frame). Signed «Jos. Bernhardt» and dated on the reverse Presented in an of cer’s uniform of the Russian Horse Guards Regiment, wearing the badge of the Order of Saint Stanislaus (3d class) and Emperor Nicolas I adjudant’s badge. Provenance: Descendance of Peter Fürst Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. 74,0 x 60,0 см. Condition note: The original frame is under restoration, two fragments cracked.

Petr Wittgenstein and Rosalie Leon: love story

Rosalie Leon was born in 1832 in Brittany, to a modest family of a stonemason. Her life could be pretty banal, but good luck took her to the capital, Paris. There she earned her living, performing Breton songs and dancing in various cabarets. Her stage name was: Rosa Noel. She also sang small parts in Offenbach operettas.

The image of her life and profession were considered unworthy in Napoleonic France. - actresses are often equated to women of easy virtue. Most often this comparison was quite justified. Whatever it was, once on a fun party with men at the very beginning of 1860’s she gets acquainted with a Russian aristocrat - and not just an aristocrat, but a relative of the Russian Emperor - Prince Petr Lvovich Wittgenstein.

His Royal Highness Prince Petr Lvovich Wittgenstein was the head of the famous family of Sain-Wittgenstein-Sain. A real citizen of the world, he was born in Florence in the family of Prince Leo Wittgenstein and Stephanie Radziwill. He spent his childhood and youth abroad, traveling a lot with his father and stepmother. In 1850 he entered the service in the Life Guards Equestrian Regiment. Ten years later he was appointed as anFlügel-adjutant to Emperor Alexander II, and a little later left for Paris as a military agent of the Russian Empire.

The military agent and the richest landowner of Russia is madly in love with an indiscreet Breton-girl. Life begins like a fairy tale: for twenty years, Wittgenstein and Rosalie travelled all over Europe - from Italy to St. Petersburg. The Prince even introduced his mistress to Emperor Alexander II. The affair was extremely scandalous. In the Petersburg high society brutally backbiting at the address of the Frenchwoman. She was very uncomfortable in Russia, so at the end Peter Wittgenstein took her back to France.

In her native Brittany, the Prince bought her several properties. In 1878, the health of Rosalie began to deteriorate sharply.In 1880, after 20 years of theirlife together, Petr Wittgenstein took a decisive step and married to Rosalie. But her life was already measured. In 1886 Rosalie, being with her husband in Ems for treatment, passed away. They didn’t have any children.

Their love story still inspires historians and novelists.