Although a life long inventor, only once has Nikola Tesla, „the genius, who lit the world“, entrusted himself to being ‘created’ on a canvas. It was in 1916, in the New York studio of the famous painter-princess Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy. This painting witch is known the “blue portrait” was first presented at March 1st 1916 in the studio of the princess. “1916 marked the anniversary of Nikola Tesla´s 60-th birthday. He was a very famous inventor and was a very prominent personality at the time. All newspapers heralded 1916, as the year in which the Nobel price for physics was going to be awarded to him. » said Dr. Sven Siemers head of «North Sea» museum in Husum.
Tesla himself had installed the artificial blue light (best known as ‘plasma light’) in the studio. That was to signify a correlation between inventiveness, lighting and art, and is how the oil-painting was named the ‚blue portrait’. «He was painted from the side. He is not depicted directly from the front; such a depiction of the side was very intimate and Tesla was very shy! He could’ve retired and we would have seen the whole person. And the chair on which he set is the famous chair on which the Kaiser Wilhelm II was portrayed. » said Dr. Siemers.
The painter-princess Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy was born in Hajdu-Dorog, Hungary. She studied art in Munich. After graduation she set out portray the ‘Nobel’ of Europe. In 1899, she married the Russian princes Evgeny Lwoff in Prague and became a princess. In 1908 she moved to New York where she lived a glamorous life and she died in 1923. After Vilma´s death, her artistic estate was auctioned; Ludwig Nissen bought most items at the auction.
Only a half year later Nissen, who was planning to use the paintings to start his own foundation in his German hometown Hussum, died himself. This is believed to have been the reason that it never became known who bought the ‘blue portrait’. From that year on the ‘blue portrait’ was known to be lost.
“When the first museums directors took inventory of their treasure there was no memory of Tesla anymore. The oil-painting with the inventory-number B 1169 was described as the ‘portrait of a man’ and put into the warehouse.” said dr.Siemers. “I started here as museums director in January. I had to familiarize myself quickly with the themes displayed in the museum, and I started with the pictures of princess Lwow-Palaghi. Initially, I undertook internet research and was vary interested in the disappearance of the 'blue portrait'. It thought it would be fun to find it here. It was the first time; my colleague showed me to our warehouse that I looked at the paintings of Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghi and indeed found there the 'blue portrait'. It was a sensation for us!"
Nikola Tesla and his works are relatively unknown in Germany. In general in physics books Tesla's name appears only as the physical unit of magnetic flux density. «Popular dictionaries usually refer to Thomas Edison as the inventor of the direct current! Tesla is never mentioned!? » said Petar Stojanovic founder of the Tesla Society of Switzerland. Michael Krause, the historian and film author seems to be very impressed by Tesla: "He is an icon not only for the twenty century, but the twenty- first. We need something new, and for that we can always look to Nikola Tesla for ideas!”
The Tesla´s vision was to enable everybody to have access to ‘free energy’: «Free energy for everybody! » Today, Husum is the home of the world’s biggest wind-energy-fair, which can be seen as free energy. As such it seems that the "blue portrait“is in Husum in very good hands.
Radio DW 2010