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Sale 38 Lot 909

THE MAYERLING AFFAIR A scarce trio of pieces relative to the notorious Mayerling Affair, the tragic, controversial murder-suicide by Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary of his mistress, 17-year-old Countess Maria Vetsera at his hunting lodge in Mayerling, Austria on Jan. 30, 1889. There is some controversy as to whether Rudolf actually killed Maria and then himself, or if the pair was murdered. While Rudolf's father, Emperor Franz Joseph, did not deny the possibility of suicide, he desired his son to have a Roman Catholic funeral and thus told the Pope that it was a double suicide, with no murder on the part of Rudolf. Instead, he claimed Rudolf acted during a spell of "mental imbalance". Apparently Franz Joseph's assurance held, as it was known that Rudolf had contemplated suicide for at least 6 months before actualizing the desire. While the motives for his suicide remain murky until this day, it is speculated that Rudolf felt acute political alienation and was at irreconcilable odds with his father. This grouping comprises three S.P.'s, each cabinet format, namely: RUDOLF, CROWN PRINCE OF AUSTRIA, a standing formal pose at about age 18, signed at bottom blank margin. Margins very slightly trimmed, else very good; his wife CROWN PRINCESS STEPHANIE, a large cabinet photo showing her in a formal portrait standing arm-in-arm with her daughter PRINCESS ELIZABETH MARIE, signed by both at bottom, with Stephanie adding date "1900"; and MARIA VETSERA, a bust photo signed across bottom adding date "Wien 1 Jan. 89", less than a month before her death. Maria's photo is diagonally broken and chipped, not affecting signature. All three photos are housed in a black mat, and have not been examined from without. An interesting grouping of pieces from one of the most mysterious European affairs of the early-twentieth century.
Estimate $ 500-600

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