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South Australians receive a new gift today a Belgian masterpiece by Adèle Kindt 1829

The Art Gallery of South Australia today unveils a major new acquisition, Full length portrait of a woman in a landscape (Portrait en pied de Mlle. D.M.) thanks to the generosity of the visionary cultural philanthropists James and Diana Ramsay.

Adele Kindt, born Brussels, Belgium 1804, died Brussels, Belgium 1893, Full-length portrait of a woman in a landscape (Portrait en pied Mlle D.M.), 1829, Brussels, oil on canvas, 176.0 x 132.0 cm; James and Diana Ramsay Fund 2024, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

It is fitting that this arresting portrait of a woman by an important woman painter finds its home in Adelaide, a city that honours strong women, founding females and trailblazers. AGSA is the first Gallery in Australia to acquire a work by Marie-Adélaïde (Adèle) Kindt, an apt acquisition considering the artists given name is Adelaide.

Monumental in scale, Kindt’s full-length neoclassical portrait of Mademoiselle D.M. is the epitome of late 1820s fashion, with her sumptuous silk gown, wide gigot (colloquially known as ‘leg-of-mutton’) sleeves and matching bonnet and shawl.

AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says ‘Thanks to the generosity of The James and Diana Ramsay Fund, this rare painting by Kindt adds to AGSA’s representation of significant international female artists from nineteenth century with the work building on the Jacques- Louis David tradition. We are thrilled to be welcoming Kindt into the collection for the first time and look forward to sharing this stunning work with Gallery visitors.’

AGSA Curator, International Art Pre-1980 Tansy Curtin says, ‘Developing the collection of Neoclassical and Romantic works of art has been an important focus for AGSA for decades.

Thispaintingoffersaudiencestheopportunitytoseeanoutstandingexampleofthisgenre. We are thrilled that visitors will be able to see the work on display from today in Gallery 12, drawing direct connection with Ancient Roman marble sculptures and highlighting artists’ continuing fascination with classicism. Adele Kindt’s portrait will become a much loved and admired addition to the collection’.

‘Adèle Kindt may not be a household name today, but in her lifetime she was a distinguished portrait painter, highly sought-after by the upper echelons of Belgian society. As her work is rediscovered by museums and collectors across the globe, her name is likely to become more familiar, with the works themselves undoubtedly attracting favourable acclaim,’ said Curtin.

For more than a decade all works of art that enter AGSA’s collection are 100% supported via philanthropy, gifts, or fundraising. Made possible through the James and Diana Ramsay Fund, this acquisition exemplifies the extraordinary power of private generosity, and is a gift to all South Australians and our visitors.

Curator Curtin believes Kindt’s portrait of the mysterious Mademoiselle D.M. offers an alternative representation of women in the first decades of the nineteenth century. ‘As she gazes out of the canvas at us, the young woman is not shy or retiring, she exudes strength and confidence. While her fashion may feel alien to us today she is the very essence of a fashionable and empowered young woman. The sitter’s confidence is reiterated by the bold artistic rendering of the work – this painting is extraordinary and demonstrates Kindt’s comprehensive understanding of her sitter, the environment, light and shade, and of course her remarkable mastery of her chosen medium.’ she said.

Marie-Adélaïde Kindt

Marie-Adelaide (Adèle) Kindt was born into an artistic family in Brussels in 1804 with both her younger sisters becoming artists. Kindt was trained in a neo-classsical style by fellow
female artist Sophie Fremiet as well as by Francois-Joseph Navez. Demonstrating precocious talent, Kindt exhibited her first work – a portrait drawing – in the Brussels Salon of 1818 when she was just fourteen years old. In 1826, Kindt was awarded First Prize at the Salon of Ghent, which marked an important moment in Kindt’s popularity and success across the Low Countries. Over the ensuing decades she received many awards and accolades and became one of Belgium’s most popular portrait painters.

While Kindt does not appear to have been directly trained by the great neo-classical artist Jacques-Louis David, her teacher Fremiet, was one of David’s pupils and she taught her own lessons from David’s town house in Brussels. The influence of David’s neoclassical style is unmistakable in Kindt’s work; however, her awareness of romanticism, and its underlying principles, is also clearly discernible. David’s best-known portraits are generally depicted in beautifully appointed interiors; for her part, Kindt has elected to include her sitter in a natural and untamed environment, highlighting her own belief in the importance of nature, a key tenet of romanticism.

Full length portrait of a woman in a landscape (Portrait en pied de Mlle. D.M.) is now on display in Gallery 12.

Visit the AGSA website

Curator of International Art pre 1980, Tansy Curtin and Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Rhana Devenport ONZM, with Full-length portrait of a woman in a landscape (Portrait en pied Mlle D.M.) by Adele Kindt, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo; Saul Steed
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