Of the Beautiful
(La Belle Chocolatière)
1743 - 45
Pastell on parchment, 82,5 x 52,5 cm
Gallery 'Alte Meister', Dresden, Germany
The neatly dressed
Chocolate-Girl strikes the viewer with her lovely gracefulness. Her face
beams of clean natural beauty. Bearing a small laquer tablet with a glass
of water and a cup of hot chocolate she doesn't take notice of the viewer
but concentrates on her task.
The picture was painted between 1743 and 1745 at the court of the Austrian
Emperess Maria Theresia. At that time the Swiss Artist
Jean-Étienne Liotard stayed at Vienna to do portraits of the Emperess and
Who was the model for the painting of the 'Schokoladenmaedchen' has never
been established with certainty. Most propably the picture depicts one of
the pretty young ladies maidens at court that impressed the painter with
Liotard later sold the picture in Venice to the count Francesco Algarotti, who
bought pictures for the collections of kings August III. of Poland
and Friedrich II. of Prussia. That does not indicate that the picture was
originally painted on commission for a special customer (a Austrian
In those days it was common that the court recruted young pretty girls
from families of 'lower' nobility to be trained as maidens and companions
for the ladies of the 'high' nobility.
"Choice Recipes - by
Walter Baker & Co. Ltd.
Dorchester Mass. USA, 1913."
often it is claimed that the person painted was the young Anna Baltauf,
daughter of a impoverished knight, Melchior Baltauf, who had
possibly been recruted to court as a ladies maiden.
It is said that the young prince von Dietrichstein
spied on her beauty there, fell in love and married her to the
dismay of the nobility.
The Walter Baker Company describes teh story in it's little
recipe-booklet of 1913 as follows:
"...There is a romance connected with
the charming Viennese girl who served as the model, which is well
worth telling. One of the leading journals of Vienna has thrown some
light an the Baltauf, or Baldauf, family to which the subject of
Liotard's painting belonged. Anna, or Annerl, as she was called by
friends and relatives, was the daughter of Melchior Baltauf, a
knight, who was living in Vienna in 1760, when Liotard was in that
city making portraits of some members of the Austrian Court. It is
not clear whether Anna was earning her living as a chocolate bearer
at that time or whether she posed as a society belle in that
becoming costume; but, be that as it may, her beauty won the love of
a prince of the Empire, whose name, Dietrichstein, is known now only
because he married the charming girl who was immortalized by a great
artist. The marriage caused a great deal of talk in Austrian society
at the time, and many different stories have been told about it. The
prejudices of caste have always been very strong in Vienna, and a
daughter of a knight, even if well-to-do, was not considered a
suitable match for a member of the court. It is said that an the
wedding day Anna invited the chocolate bearers with whom she had
worked or played, and in "sportive joy at her own elevation"
offered her hand to them saying, " Behold! now that I am a
princess you may kiss my hand."
She was probably about twenty years of age when the portrait was
painted in 1760, and she lived until 1825..."
In the most romantic version
the young prince von Dietrichstein enters a quaint Viennes chocolate shop
on a wintersday in 1745, curious to find out if that new drink (hot
chocolate) tastes really as delicious as was widely told..
In the shop he meets the young beauty Anna Baltauf, who works here as a
shop girl. He is smitten by the young girls gracefulness and beauty and
falls in love with her instantly. So during the following weeks he visits
the shop almost daily to be close to his "Annerl" and become
more acquainted to her. Finally he asks her to become his wife and marries
her within a year against strong objections from the nobility.
As a wedding-present Prince Diertrichstein engaged the painter Jean-Étienne Liotard,
who was working at the Viennese court at that time, to paint his bride in
the attire in which he had seen her the first time.
was born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1702
as son of a French merchant. His father enabled him the training as
a miniature- and enamel-painter.
From 1736 Liotard travelled extensively to Rome,
Konstantinopel, Vienna, Paris, Netherlands and England.
His remarkable appearance, he wore a long beard and always turkish
clothes became his personal 'brand-image'. He painted very
naturalistic portraits carried out in the pastel-technique. Because
of the accurate depictions of his portraits and propably also
because of his very unusual appearance he became soon wellknown and
found jobs as portait-painter at courts and cities.
Characteristic for his stile are the naturalistic images and
accurate finish of details, the soft modelling of
light-dark-contrast and the unusual light backgrounds of his
When Liotard came to Vienna in 1743 the Emperess allowed the
excentric painter to do her portrait. After that of course many
other VIPs of those days wanted to follow suit and have there
portraits done by Liotard.
'Portrait of the
Selfportrait 'The Artist
With The Long Beart'
1746 Liotard moved
to Paris and married there. He never gave up his travelling:
1754 he visited London, 1757 he returned to his hometown Geneva.
Later more trips visits to Vienna, Paris, England and Geneva
followed, where he died 1789.
Even though the beginnings of
the story of 'La Belle Chocolatière' remain uncertain (with a fairy-tale
flavour), the continuation, that led to the worldwide famousness of the
chocolate-girl is well documented:
|In the year 1881 Henry
L. Pierce, incumbent president of the American Walter
Baker Company visited Europe to learn about the European
techniques of cocoa production.
(In those days Walter Baker & Co.Ltd was the absolutely dominating
Company in the American cocoa- and chocolate-business).
While visiting Dresden, Gerrmany, he picture of the 'Schokoladen- maedchen'
in the Royal galery caught his eye.
He liked the picture and the romantic story of Anna Baltauf so much,
that he decided to make the picture trade-mark for Baker's Cocoa.
He had a copy of the painting done and send to Dorchester where it
found a place in his office.
'La Belle Chocolatière' (the pretty
chocolate-girl) became one of the first registered trade-marks
in economic history.
Since the 1880s millions of cocoa-tins and advertisements and other
articals were printed and sold by the Walter Baker Company and
immortalized the image of Anna Baltauf (?) and the memory of her
Baker Werbung von Juni 1911
in der Zeitschrift 'Century
The picture on the left showes an interesting version of a Baker's
ad. Schokoladenmädchenmotivs zu sehen:
On the bottom left the original trade-mark can be seen. The main
motive shows a contemporary American adaption of the
chocolate-girl-motive from the year 1911.
The pictures of ads and tins can be seen in a larger
version by clicking o the pictures.
All pictures of ads and tins on this pages are
Many collectors items
on Baker's Cocoa and 'La Belle
Chocolatière' can be seen on 'Margie's Page' under: http://community-2.webtv.net/lorena7/MARGIESPAGE/
The success of 'La Belle Chocolatière' as trade-mark of Baker's Cocoa led
other cocoa companies to copy the image or to develop own trade-marks or
logos that where inspired by the original 'La Belle Chocolatière' and
adapted in a distinctive way.
Here are a few examples:
Starting about 1900
the Dutch Droste-tins show the image of a chocolate-serving
nurse. 'La Belle
Chocolatière' in teh attire of the nurse carries not only the image
of youth and gracefulness but also of health.
The early examples of this design the nurse even has a 'Red Cross'
on it's white armlet.
marketed the healthiness of it's cocoa and appealed on the analysis
of the famous German chemist Justus von Liebig.
The picture on the right shows the back of a Baker's trading card.
(Double)click on the card for details.
shows 'La Belle Chocolatiere' in a traditional costume.
from the Netherlands
presents 'La Belle Chocolatiere' in a regional traditional costume.
Many more cocoa-producers marketed their products with the picture
of a chocalte-girl, from Rueger (Germany) in the ebeginning of the
20th century to Nestlé Kakao (Switzerland) in the 90s.
(Great Britain) shows a medival version of
'La Belle Chocolatiere'.