Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828–1887)

Alexandre Cabanel French

Not on view

The chic satin evening gown that collector and philanthropist Catharine Lorillard Wolfe donned for portrait sittings in Paris belies her reputation as "quiet and unassuming." Wolfe, the first female benefactor of The Met, was said to be the richest unmarried woman in the United States. Her cousin John Wolfe encouraged her patronage of Cabanel, a celebrated society portraitist and genre painter, and other preeminent European academic artists. She bequeathed this portrait, amid numerous artworks, to the museum in 1887 along with an acquisitions endowment—a gift heralded by the press as greatly elevating the profile of public collections of modern art in New York.

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828–1887), Alexandre Cabanel (French, Montpellier 1823–1889 Paris), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.