Independent (May 24, 1860), p. 2, states that this picture is a copy of an original commissioned by [William] Auferman [sic for Aufermann] for the International Art Gallery in New York; quotes a May 9, 1859 letter from Schrader stating that the [original] portrait was in Humboldt's bedroom at the time of the sitter's death; according to Aufermann "'Schrader observed in the same letter, that several amateurs were desirous of buying this portrait, and among these Mr. Havemeyer, from New York, but that as I had ordered it first, he would give me the preference'".
"Humboldt Anniversary." New York Times (September 1, 1869), p. 2, states that Albert Havemeyer will lend this picture to a Humboldt centenary celebration in New York.
Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur (May 1889), p. 123, states that this work was sold on April 12 at Ortgies for $2,250 to H. O. Havemeyer, who presented it to the MMA; notes that a replica was sold at the A. T. Stewart sale for $925; relates that the MMA picture was painted from life in 1859 for Albert Havemeyer and that the artist promised not to replicate it, adding "on being taken to task for having broken his promise, he wrote an abject letter of apology to Mr. Havemeyer" [see Ref. Independent 1860 and "Catalogue of the A. T. Stewart Collection," Chickering Hall, New York, March 23–25, 1887, no. 202, which publishes documents stating that the Stewart version was painted from life and has never been copied].
Catalogue of the Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1898, p. 161, no. 537, states that while in Berlin in 1857, Albert Havemeyer asked Baron von Humboldt to sit for this picture; notes that Humboldt himself selected the background of Chimborazo; relates that Schrader "commenced the picture at once, and at its completion the Baron expressed himself delighted with it"; remarks that it is the last portrait from life of Humboldt.
Albert Ten Eyck Gardner. "Scientific Sources of the Full-Length Landscape: 1850." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (October 1945), p. 63, ill., notes that the Chimborazo mountain depicted in the background of this picture also appears in "Heart of the Andes" (1859; MMA 09.95) by Frederic Edwin Church, who was greatly influenced by Humboldt's writings on landscape painting.
Halina Nelken. Alexander von Humboldt: His Portraits and Their Artists, a Documentary Iconography. Berlin, 1980, pp. 163–69, ill. (color, overall and detail), notes that Schrader painted three portraits of Humboldt: a bust portrait (1856; Nationalgalerie, Berlin), a full-length portrait (1859; Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin), and the MMA painting; identifies the background as the mountains of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875–1900." PhD diss., City University of New York, 1982, pp. 102–3, erroneously suggests that this picture was a gift to H. O. Havemeyer from his father.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 55.
Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 208.
Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 377, no. A475, ill., states that it was acquired by H. O. Havemeyer by descent [see Ref. Montezuma 1889].