"Portrait Of A Lady In A Green Dress C.1710 Antique Painting; Circle Of Michael Dahl (1657-1743)"The portrait genre was valued particularly highly in English society. Neither landscapes nor allegorical pictures were ever priced so highly at exhibitions and in the trade as depictions of people, from the highest aristocracy to scholars, writers, poets and statesmen. Michael Dahl was a famous and fashionable portraitist who by 1700 became the most successful painter in England, second only to Godfrey Kneller.
By the late 1600s, England was actively trading with Asia, as this portrait reveals. In this striking portrait the sitter wears a loose-fitting dress called an open robe that was introduced from Asia in the 1670s during the reign of King Charles II. The style became the fashion choice for informal portraiture for more than a hundred years.
Characteristic of Dahl, especially in the 1690s and early 1700s, is his interesting use of colour, sometimes in unexpected shades. Here, the fresh, pale emerald green of the gown provides a strong decorative contrast with her crimson wrap. The lively handling of the drapery and the colour combination are used with great effect. There are many examples of green drapery in Dahl’s work.
Michael Dahl (1659-1743) was born in Stockholm and was a painter of exceptional talent. He studied with David Ehrenstrahl, the leading Swedish portrait painter of his day, before embarking on a tour of Europe in 1682 that included London, Paris and Rome. He first visited London and it is thought that he spent some time in Kneller's studio. A number of Dahl’s compatriots saw England as being relatively stable and prosperous compared to many European countries, and more welcoming than France, for example, of the Lutheran faith then prevalent in Sweden. In 1698 he was offered the position of painter to the court of the Swedish King, Charles XII, but preferred to stay and settle permanently in London. There, he established an independent studio and by 1700 became the most successful painter in England, second only to Godfrey Kneller. His Scandinavian origins ensured patronage from Prince George of Denmark, and Queen Anne and members of the English court and he worked for the Duke of Somerset painting the Petworth 'Beauties' in the late 1690s. in 1712 he charged £50 for a full length. He died in London in 1743 leaving two daughters (his only son, also a painter, died about three years earlier).
Provenance: Private collection in Germany for the last 30 years (originally purchased in France)
Measurements: Height 102cm, Width 89cm framed (Height 40”, Width 35” framed