Foerster, Josef Bohuslav. (1859-1951)
Portrait Photograph Inscribed
Postcard portrait photograph of the Czech composer by Šechtl & Voseček in Tábor, Bohemia, mounted on dark gray paper and inscribed to foot of mount in Czech: "Milostivě paní / pí [?] Marie Gutwirthové / výrazem hlubké úcty a udežnosti [?] /V Mor[avské] Ostravě 12/X/25" (To the gracious Mrs. Marie Gutwirthová / as an expression of deep respect and [unclear]. In Moravská Ostrava, October 12, 1925). Size of photograph 5.25 x 3.5 inches (13.5 x 9 cm); size of mount 11.5 x 8.5 inches (29 x 22 cm). Tear to mount to right foot, else fine.
The present portrait is displayed in the Czech Wikipedia article on Foerster, if with a wider margin (less cropping). Foerster was a respected Czech composer and critic throughout his long life, even though he never achieved the fame of a Dvořák, Janáček, or even Josef Suk. In the 1880s he was a friend of Tchaikovsky, fostering the Russian-Czech cultural exchange. From 1893 to 1903 he lived in Hamburg and worked as a music and art critic; he was on friendly terms with Gustav Mahler and married a singer from the opera there. Later he lived in Vienna before returning to his native country after it had gained independence in 1918. He wrote six operas, five symphonies and other orchestral music, oratorios, sacred music and chamber music. When he write this inscription, he was in Moravská Ostrava for the local premiere of his opera Eva (1899), by general consent his finest. Foerster was also a gifted painter and left a posthumously published autobiography, The Pilgrim. There is no further information on Marie Gutwirthová.