This piece by Paul Berthon is an exquisite example of his work and the Art Nouveau style. The portrait of the young Queen Wilhelmina is depicted with a solemn and regal bearing, her gaze directed towards the distance, suggesting a contemplative or forward-thinking nature. The traditional Frisian costume is rendered with careful attention to detail, from the lacework of the cap to the texture of the garment, which speaks to Berthon's ability to convey fine details.
The colors are of exceptional quality. They are subtle yet profound, conveying the richness of the fabric and the delicate complexion of the queen. The flowers to the side of the figure are typical of Art Nouveau, both in their symbolic inclusion and the way they seem to organically emerge from the bottom of the frame, providing a naturalistic balance to the human subject.
The inclusion of Wilhelmina's initial with a crown in a gold burnished plate on her hat is a thoughtful detail that signifies her royal status while adding a luxurious element to the artwork. It captures the viewer's eye and serves as a focal point that ties the composition together.
The background landscape, featuring a windmill, subtly references the Dutch heritage and may symbolize the country's industrious nature and its relationship with the land and sea. It is rendered with less detail, which is fitting for a background, allowing the figure to stand out more prominently.
The original frame complements the artwork beautifully, with its own intricate designs that resonate with the Art Nouveau style of the piece. The decision to keep the artwork in its original frame is significant, as it maintains the historical integrity and presentation as intended by the artist.
In summary, this artwork is not only a testament to Berthon's mastery of color and design but also an homage to Dutch culture and the then-young Queen Wilhelmina. The piece's limited run of fifty copies and its retention in the original frame would make it a highly collectible item. It’s a beautiful blend of artistry, cultural representation, and historical significance.