Cæsar Kunwald, Portrait Of The Dancer Ella Ilback

Cæsar Kunwald, Portrait Of The Dancer Ella Ilback

This sublime early 20th-century portrait by Cæsar Kunwald (1870-1947) depicts the dancer, Ella Ilback (1895-1997) sitting on a veranda before a picturesque coastal landscape. Ilback was the leading Estonian solo dancer of her generation.

In 1920, when this was painted, she was already in the public eye having given numerous performances to much acclaim. Her career took her across the globe including spells in France and the USA but at this point she was based in Tartu, Estonia.

Later in life she published three autobiographical works, ‘Like a Deer Screams’, ‘Tuvi Malm’ and ‘Kumisev Kannel’. Her writing suggests an enigmatic personality - both expressive and modest in equal measure. Richard Wagner’s opera ‘Valkyries’ provided the soundtrack to her famous dance, ‘Flame’.

The artist, Cæsar Kunwald, was at the height of his career in 1920 and happily married with two young children. His portrait of Ella is rendered with sensitivity and a stronger palette than usual. Through colour, he’s trying to communicate a sense of vitality.

The portrait is rather large and would suit a period building with high ceilings or alternatively it could be propped against a wall to create a decorative focal point.

Due to its size, it’s only available for UK delivery.

Signed/dated in the lower left and housed within its original frame.

Learn more about Cæsar Kunwald in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 47” x 39” / 179cm x 128cm
Year of creation: 1920
Condition: Artwork presents well with no issues. Frame with some light wear.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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