The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Arthur Bronson, 1824-1885

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1824
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1885
Place of Death:


Arthur Bronson came from a wealthy New York family with extensive estates in Connecticut. He married Katherine Bronson, née De Kay in 1855. They had a daughter, Edith, later Countess Rucellai.


Katherine Bronson was related to JW's early patron, Thomas De Kay Winans. JW himself was a distant relation, his older brother George having married Julia De Kay Winans. From the time of their marriage the Bronsons spent much of their time travelling abroad all over Europe. In 1876, they settled permanently in Venice and soon held a central position in Venetian society. In 1879-80 JW, along with Robert Browning, John Singer Sargent and Henry James, enjoyed the Bronsons' hospitality at the Ca' Alvisi, the family home situated at the mouth of the Grand Canal opposite Santa Maria della Salute. JW later declared, 'Venice is only really known in all its fairy perfection to the privileged who may be permitted to gaze from Mrs Bronson's balcony' (#11542). According to family tradition, JW gave Katherine Bronson Venice (M.816), possibly as a parting gift. Sometime in the middle of 1880, Arthur Bronson acquired a severe mental illness and never recovered, dying a few years later in Paris.


MacDonald, Margaret F., Palaces in the Night Whistler in Venice, Aldershot, 2001; More Than Friend: The Letters of Robert Browning to Katherine de Kay Bronson, M. Meredith (ed.), Waco, Texas, 1985.