Michiko Meinl (née Tanaka) with Flowering Branch, 1929
Leopold Museum, Vienna
Michiko Meinl (née Tanaka) with Flowering Branch 1929
Oil on canvas
(Slonzk 1870–1945 Johannesburg)
Currently on display at UG2
The Jewish painter Jehudo Epstein (1870–1945) was born in Belarus. He moved to Vienna in 1888 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. He had spent the best part of his life in Vienna, before he was forced to emigrate to South Africa in 1935. He painted numerous portraits of personalities from society, among them Michiko Meinl (née Tanaka). Born in Japan, she had come to Vienna to study music and singing. She married the entrepreneur Julius Meinl, who fostered her artistic career. Epstein depicted the young woman wearing a Kimono and holding a flowering branch. Her relaxed posture, her fashionable pageboy hairstyle and her radiant smile suggest frankness and confidence. The artist combined a realistic manner of depiction with abstracting dots of color. Both in terms of the motif and style of painting, Epstein created a portrait situated, just like the young lady herself, on the threshold between tradition and modernism.