Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Memorial Portrait of Catharine Schultz (1789-1832)

ca. 1836
Made in New York, New York, United States
Oil paint and silk thread on silk
25 5/8 × 22 5/8 in. (65.1 × 57.5 cm) Framed: 25 5/8 x 22 1/2 x 2 in. (65.1 x 57.2 x 5.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of the American Wing Fund, The Masinter Family Foundation Gift, and funds from various donors, 1999
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting and embroidery on silk was conceived as a memorial portrait following Catharine Schultz’s death in 1832 at age 43, but it shows her as a much younger woman. The likeness was probably copied from a miniature portrait painted when Catharine was around 15 years old as the empire style dress and hair style date to 1803-1806. Newspaper fragments from the backing of the original period frame have advertisements for businesses that appear in New York City directories from 1833-37, which help date the portrait. The painted face is highly expressive and well-painted, undoubtedly by a professional. The needlework was likely done by one of Catharine Schultz’s female relatives.
Portrait of Catharine Schultz, who was the youngest daughter of New York brewer Christian Joachim Schultz (1740-1814) and Anna Maria Nestell Schultz (1750-1836). She was born in New York City on April 13, 1789 and baptized in the Dutch Reform Church on May 3, 1789. Her death on September 19, 1832 was likely due to cholera during New York City’s first cholera epidemic. The memorial portrait descended through the members of her brother Michael Schultz’s family until it was sold out of the family by a Marianne Schneider sometime after 1979. It was later sold to the Met by Carol and Stephen Huber. See American Decorative Arts Departmental files for further documentation regarding the family connections and lines of descent. Catharine Schultz was the great aunt of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828-1887), who was one of the Met’s first great patrons.
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