Karoline Luise von Baden. Kunst und Korrespondenz

Biography of Karoline Luise of Baden

1723Karoline Luise is born on the 11th of July in Darmstadt as the daughter of the crown prince Ludwig and the granddaughter of the reigning Landgraf Ernst Ludwig of Hessen-Darmstadt. Her mother is Charlotte Christine, daughter of Graf Johann Reinhard III of Hanau-Lichtenberg, who dies in 1726.
1733Together with her sister Luise Auguste Magdalene, Karoline Luise receives private tuition from the young theologian Johann Peter Job up until 1740.
1736Her grandfather Johann Reinhard dies. He leaves his grandchildren, including Karoline Luise, the parts of the Grafschaft Hanau which are located in Lower Alsace. This forms an important source of income which later allows Karoline Luise to buy paintings with her private resources.
1745Karoline Luise is present at the coronation of Kaiser Franz I. Stephan in Frankfurt am Main. She thereby makes the acquaintance of not only his spouse, the Kaiserin Maria Theresia, but also the painter Jean-Etienne Liotard. Following on from this, Liotard teaches her drawing in Darmstadt and portrays her sitting at an easel. Throughout her life Karoline Luise prefers to work in sanguine and pastel, although she sometimes paints in oil and in the 1760s also turns to printing techniques such as etching.
1748The five years younger Markgraf Karl Friedrich of Baden-Durlach receives Karoline Luise’s hand in marriage. The marriage contract is concluded in October 1749.
1751In January Karoline Luise and Karl Friedrich of Baden marry in Darmstadt. Karoline Luise moves into an apartment in the eastern wing of the Karlsruhe Palace. In September she gives birth to a stillborn son. In 1752 and 1753 there are further miscarriages and stillbirths.
1752Karl Friedrich issues the commission to alter the Karlsruhe Palace. The building works go on for more than twenty years, until 1774.
1755The birth of the longed-for son and heir Crown Prince Karl Ludwig. From 1755 until 1766 the court painter Joseph Melling gives the Markgräfin drawing and painting lessons. In these years Karoline Luise borrows important paintings and drawings from the Elector of the Palatinate’s collection in Mannheim, in order to copy them in Karlsruhe.
1756The birth of the second son, Prince Friedrich. In the same year the Seven Years’ War begins. All the great European powers are involved. Even the Markgrafschaft of Baden must provide troops for the Imperial war against Prussia, but is largely spared the ravages of war.
1758The philosopher Voltaire visits the Karlsruhe court for four days.
1759The merchant and banker Jean-Henri Eberts, originally from Strasbourg and living in Paris, pays a visit to Karlsruhe. He encourages Karoline Luise to collect paintings and from this point on becomes her most important art agent. Extremely well-informed by her extensive correspondence as well as by contemporary writings about art, she obtains around 160 works during the next four years. Karoline Luise takes advantage of the art market’s stagnation due to the war in order to acquire outstanding paintings at good prices.
1760Karoline Luise is delivered of a stillborn son, and further stillbirths and miscarriages follow in 1764, 1767 and 1769.
1761In Paris the Comte de Vence’s famous collection is auctioned off. At this sale three of Karoline Luise’s agents are in attendance: Jean-Henri Eberts, Georg Wilhelm Fleischmann and Johann Georg Wille. 17 paintings from the Comte de Vence’s collection are still in Karlsruhe today.
1762The Gaillard de Gagny collection in Paris, the Frank collection in the Hague and the Wierman collection in Amsterdam are all auctioned off. Through her agents, the Markgräfin is able to secure important works.
1763A third son, Ludwig, later Grand-Duke of Baden, is born. Shortly afterwards the Seven Years’ War ends. At this time Karoline Luise begins to systematically assemble a cabinet of natural curiosities. Karoline Luise is named an honorary member of the Art Academy in Copenhagen. She travels to the Netherlands with Karl Friedrich. There follow further acquisitions in the Dutch and Parisian art markets, but the intensity of the collecting in this area decreases in the following years.
1766The Parisian salonnière Marie-Thérèse Geoffrin visits Karlsruhe for four days.
1770The Markgraf’s family travels to Freiburg and Emmendingen in order to greet Marie Antoinette, the daughter of Maria Theresia and the prospective bride of the French Dauphin, on her trip to Paris.
1771From the beginning of June until the end of September, the Markgraf’s entire family undertakes a trip to Paris. In October the childless August Georg Simpert, Markgraf of Baden-Baden, dies. Karl Friedrich enters into his inheritance, and the two Badisch territories are thereby reunited.
1773The Markgraf’s family travels through the southern parts of Baden to Basel. In autumn the engraver Arnaud-Eloi Gautier-Dagoty begins work on Karoline Luise’s project of representing the plant world according to the system developed by the Swedish natural historian Linnaeus. This plan is abandoned in 1778 due to financial considerations.
1774The crown prince Karl Ludwig marries his cousin Amalie of Hessen-Darmstadt. The poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock is called to the Baden court as a court-counsellor. The composer Christoph Willibald Gluck visits Karlsruhe.
1775Karoline Luise travels to Düsseldorf in order to view the famous paintings gallery of the Electors Palatine. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, accompanied by the Stolberg brothers, visits Karlsruhe. The renovations of the Karlsruhe palace are completed and Karoline Luise sets up her apartments in the second story of the west wing. Her private paintings cabinet finds a home on the top floor.
1776-1781Karoline Luise undertakes further trips through the Holy Roman Empire (Mainz, Frankfurt, Zweibrücken, Munich, Saxony), to the south of France and Paris, to the Austrian Netherlands (Brussels and Antwerp) and to Italy (Verona, Venice and Florence, among others).
1783With her son Friedrich, Karoline Luise travels to Paris for the third time. She dies there on the 8th of April following several heart attacks, and is then brought to Baden and buried in Pforzheim.
1784Karoline Luise’s sons conclude a fraternal inheritance contract and reach the agreement (among others) that the paintings cabinet should not be split up but should be preserved entire. The paintings are detailed in an inventory of 205 entries, and have been on display in the “Akademiegebäude” since about 1789. They constitute the foundation of the Großherzogliche (today Staatliche) Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, established in 1836.

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