Hans Unger

Tino Pattiera as Cavaradossi

1922,

oil on canvas

 
Hans Unger (Bautzen 1872-1936 Dresden)
Tino Pattiera as Cavaradossi (the opera singer Tino Pattiera as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's tragic opera "Tosca")
1922
oil on canvas
135.5 x 81.5 cm (53.3 x 32 in.)
signed and dated upper right "H. Unger 1922"
numbered on the canvas verso
inscribed with the artist's name and numbered "H. U. 418" on the stretcher, verso
The Daulton Collection

Provenance

Collection of the Swiss writer John Knittel (1891-1970), Maienfeld; and then ownership within his family until acquired by The Daulton Collection in 2023

Exhibition History:

Ausstellung der Dresdner Kunstgenossenschaft, 1922.  The portrait was considered the "highlight" of the exhibition (der "Glanzpunkt" der Ausstellung).  Günther at pg. 49.

Große Berliner Kunstausstellung, May 12-August 31, 1926, Nr. 895 

Publication History:

Rolf Günther, Hans Unger, Leben und Werk (Dresden: Neumeister, 1997), pgs. 48-49, ill. 35 (described as "Verbleib unbekannt" or "whereabouts unknown").

Peter Forster, “Eine ‘Eigenartige Kreuzigung’ von Hans Unger in zweifacher Ausführung,” Momento Mori -- Dresdener Kunstblätter (Dresden 2023), Heft 4, pgs. 34-41, ill. 5 at pg. 39.



Discussion:

A "lost" masterpiece re-appears!

"Despite the triumph of young artists, Unger was still considered one of the most well-off painters in Dresden [after World War I]. Important representatives of cultural and public life frequented his sophisticated house on Kügelgenstrasse, also attracted by the two attractive ladies of the house. Sascha Schneider reported about this in a letter to Klara May, the wife of the great writer Karl May, dated December 28, 1918: 'As a nice New Year's greeting, I would like to inform you that I have discovered a very angry Karl May reader in the tenor Tauber ... At Christmas, I was at the Plaschkes, with the Ungers and Tino Pattiera, who sang beautiful Italian songs to me while accompanying Tauber.'  Unger's house was a meeting place for various artists. He obviously felt more attracted to musicians, singers and writers than to his own colleagues. There must have been a special relationship in particular with the important tenor Tino Pattiera. ...[I]n 1921, Unger created a 'Portrait of Tino Pattiera as Cavaradossi,' which shows the singer in the male lead role in Giacomo Puccini's opera 'Tosca.' The [formerly] lost picture is one of Unger's best portraits ever. The powerful figure of the 'star' of the Dresden Opera was presented life-size in front of the viewer. The scene from Act III was depicted on the platform of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, the climax of which is the famous aria 'E lucevan le stelle.' The haunting presentation makes the bravura aria almost a visual reality. Together with the portrait 'Eva Plaschke as Salome,' this picture is one of the greatest portrait achievements in Dresden painting ever. The picture was considered the highlight of the Dresden Art Cooperative exhibition in 1922."  Günther at pg. 49 (emphasis added).


Despite the triumph of young artists, Unger was still considered one of the most well-off painters in Dresden. Important representatives of cultural and public life frequented his sophisticated house on Kügelgenstrasse, also attracted by the two attractive ladies of the house. Sascha Schneider reported about this in a letter to Klara May, the wife of the great writer Karl May, dated December 28, 1918: "As a nice New Year's greeting, I would like to inform you that I have discovered a very angry Karl May reader in the tenor Tauber ... At Christmas I was at Plaschkes, with Ungers and Tino Pattiera, who sang beautiful Italian songs to me while accompanying Tauber." Unger's house was a meeting place for various artists. He obviously felt more attracted to musicians, singers and writers than to his own colleagues.

There must have been a special relationship in particular with the important tenor Tino Pattiera. Probably in 1921, Unger created a "Portrait of Tino Pattiera as Cavaradossi," which shows the singer in the male lead role in Giacomo Puccini's opera "Tosca." The now lost picture is one of Unger's best portraits ever. The powerful figure of the “star” of the Dresden Opera was presented life-size in front of the viewer. The scene from III was depicted. Act on the platform of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, the climax of which is the famous aria "E lucevan le stelle". The haunting presentation makes the bravura aria almost a visual reality. Together with the "Portrait "Eva Plaschke von der Osten as Salome", this picture is one of the greatest portrait achievements in Dresden painting ever. The picture was considered the highlight of the Dresden Art Cooperative exhibition in 1922.
"Trotz des Siegeszuges der jungen Künstler galt Unger noch immer als einer der wohlsituiertesten Maler Dresdens.  In seinem mondänen Haus auf Kügelgenstraße, angezogen auch von den beiden reizvollen Damen de Hauses, verkehrten bedeutende Vertreter de kulturellen und öffentlichen Lebens.  Sascha Schneider berichtete darüber in einem Brief an Klara May, der Gattin des großen Schriftstellers Karl May, vom 28. 12. 1918: 'Als schönen Neujahrsgruß teile ich Ihnen mit, daß ich in dem Tenoristen Tauber einen ganz wütenden Karl-May-Leser entdeckt habe ... Weihnachten war ich bei Plaschkes, mit Ungers und Tino Pattiera zusammen, der bei der Begleitung Taubers mir schöne italienische Arien vorsang.'  Ungers Haus war Treffpunkt verschiedenster Künstler.  Offensichtlich fühlte er sich zu Musikern, Sängern und Schriftstellern mehr hingezogen als zu den Kollegen seiner eigenen Zunft.  Insbesondere zu dem bedeutenden Tenor Tino Pattiera muß ein besonderes Verhältnis bestanden haben.  Wahrscheinlich 1921 schuf Unger ein 'Porträt Tino Pattieras als Cavaradossi,' welches den Sänger in der männlichen Hauptrolle von Giacomo Puccinis Oper 'Tosca' zeigt.  Das heute verschollene Bild gehört zu den besten Porträts Ungers überhaupt.  Die kraftvolle Gestalt des 'Stars' der Dresdner Oper wurde in Lebensgröße vor den Betrachter gesetzt.  Dargestellt war die Szene des III. Aktes auf der Plattform der Engelsburg in Rom, deren Höhepunkt die berühmte Arie 'E lucevan le stelle' bildet.  Die eindringliche Darstellung läßt die Bravourarie beinahe visuelle Wirklichkeit werden.  Zusammen mit dem Porträt 'Eva Plaschke von der Osten als Salome' gehört dieses Bild zu den großartigsten Porträtleistungen Dresdner Malerei überhaupt.  Das Bild galt als Glanzpunkt der Ausstellung der Dresdner Kunstgenossenschaft 1922."  Günther at pg. 49.


"In the role of Cavaradossi, the opera singer Tino Pattiera, who was born near Dubrovnik, celebrated his greatest successes. Born in 1890, he completed his singing training in Vienna with Cavaliere Ranieri, former professor at the Milan Conservatory who was active in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century. Pattiera's extraordinary voice, his engaging appearance, and his dark-colored heldentenor earned him an invitation to sing at the Dresden Royal Court Opera after just two years of study. Here he celebrated his sensational debut in 1916 in the role of Manrico in Giuseppe Verdi's Troubadour. He rose to stardom, especially in the 1920s, and appeared as a guest at the Chicago Opera in 1920/21, recorded his first records, and took on film roles such as in Robert Wiene's operetta film "A Night in Venice" from 1934. His repertoire primarily included the Italian opera of the 19th century, but he also shone in Richard Wagner's "Tannhäuser" and in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos." By marrying a niece of his former Viennese patron, Countess Schaffgotsch, he became financially secure, entered the Saxon nobility, and resided in the befitting Eckberg Castle above the Elbe. When his contract at the Dresden Opera House expired in 1940, Pattiera left Dresden and moved first to Prague and in 1950 to Vienna, where he worked as a singing professor at the Music Academy. He is considered the most important representative of the Verdi Renaissance at the beginning of the 20th century; with Richard Tauber and Elisabeth Rethberg, he is one of the greats of the time."  Dr. Katharina Thurmair.

"In der Rolle des Cavaradossi feiert der bei Dubrovnik geborene Opernsänger Tino Pattiera seine größten Erfolge. 1890 geboren, absolviert er seine Gesangsausbildung in Wien bei Cavaliere Ranieri, ehemaliger Professor des Mailänder Konservatoriums und Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts in Wien tätig. Pattieras außergewöhnliche Stimme, sein einnehmendes Äußeres und sein dunkel gefärbter Heldentenor verschaffen ihm bereits nach zweijährigem Studium eine Einladung der Dresdner Königlichen Hofoper zum Vorsingen. Hier feiert er 1916 sein Sensations-Debüt in der Rolle des Manrico im Troubadour von Giuseppe Verdi. Vor allem in den 1920er Jahren steigt er zum Star auf und gastiert 1920/21 an der Chicagoer Oper, nimmt erste Schallplatten auf und übernimmt Filmrollen wie im Operettenfilm "Eine Nacht in Venedig" von Robert Wiene von 1934. Sein Repertoire umfasst vor allem die italienische Oper des 19. Jahrhunderts, er brilliert aber auch in Richard Wagners "Tannhäuser" oder in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos". Durch die Heirat mit einer Nichte seiner einstigen Wiener Gönnerin, der Gräfin Schaffgotsch, ist er finanziell abgesichert, in den sächsischen Adel eingetreten und residiert im standesgemäßen Schloss Eckberg über der Elbe. Als 1940 sein Engagementvertrag am Dresdner Opernhaus ausläuft, verlässt Pattiera Dresden und übersiedelt zunächst nach Prag und 1950 nach Wien, wo er als Gesangsprofessor an der Musikakademie wirkt. Er gilt als der bedeutendste Vertreter der Verdi-Renaissance zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts, mit Richard Tauber und Elisabeth Rethberg gehört er zu den Größen der Zeit." Dr. Katharina Thurmair.






 
Contact:
Jack Daulton
The Daulton Collection
thedaultoncollection@outlook.com