Samuel P. Avery was one of the most successful of the many art dealers active in New York in the late nineteenth century. Sponsored by W. T. Walters, founder of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Avery travelled throughout Europe buying contemporary academic paintings for his customers. He also assembled an outstanding collection of prints, which he presented to the New York Public Library, and an excellent collection of books on architecture that forms the nucleus of the Avery Library at Columbia University.
Madrazo was a fashionable portrait painter who was promoted by Avery and whose work was much in demand in New York. He also painted modish upper-class genre scenes such as Girls at a Window (85.15.131) and Masquerade Ball at the Ritz Hotel, Paris, 1909 (37.20.3)
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Title:Samuel P. Avery (1822–1904)
Artist:Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, Rome 1841–1920 Versailles)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:24 x 19 1/4 in. (61 x 48.9 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of the family of Samuel P. Avery, 1904
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (upper right): à Mr. Avery / R. Madrazo / 1876.
Samuel P. Avery, New York (1876–d. 1904; commissioned from the artist)
St. Petersburg, Fla. Museum of Fine Arts. "Spanish 19th Century Painters," January 15–February 18, 1973, no catalogue?
Jacksonville, Fla. Cummer Gallery of Art. "Spanish 19th Century Painters," March 6–April 8, 1973, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Samuel P. Avery: Pioneer American Art Dealer," September 11–October 31, 1979, unnumbered cat.
New York Public Library. "Liberty: The French-American Statue in Art and History," June 21–August 30, 1986, no. 386.
Samuel Putnam Avery Sr. Journal entry. June 29, 1876 [published in Madeleine Fidell Beaufort et al. "The Diaries 1871–1882 of Samuel P. Avery, Art Dealer," New York, 1979, pp. 363–64, fig. 101], notes that he sat for a portrait by Madrazo, probably this one, at 17, rue des Ecuries d'Artois, on June 29, 1876 [incorrectly given as 1875 at page heading], and the following day.
George A. Lucas. Journal entry. June 1876 [published in Lilian M. C. Randall, ed., "The Diary of George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857–1909, Princeton, 1979, vol. 1, p. 35, fig. 22; vol. 2, p. 433], remarks that Avery sat for this portrait for Madrazo on June 28 and 29 and that it was finished by the second day.
William A. Coffin. "Souvenirs of a Veteran Collector." Century Illustrated Magazine 53 (December 1896), ill. p. 233 (engraving by Henry Wolf).
Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-Americana. Vol. 31, Barcelona, , p. 1364, lists it as in the collection of Samuel P. Avery.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 299.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 62.
Denys Sutton inParis—New York: A Continuing Romance. Exh. cat., Wildenstein. New York, 1977, p. 20, pl. III.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 168, ill.
Mark A. Roglán inNineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Ed. Sarah Lees. Williamstown, Mass., 2012, vol. 1, p. 472 n. 2, under no. 203.
Javier Barón inImpressions of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Vistas by Martín Rico. Ed. Javier Barón. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Dallas, 2013, pp. 90, 120 n. 189, notes that the same year Madrazo painted this portrait, Avery acquired two works Rico had painted over the summer.
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