The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Henry Havemeyer, 1847-1907

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1847
Place of Birth: New York, NY
Date of Death: 1907.12.04
Place of Death: New York


Henry [Harry] Osborne Havemeyer was an American collector who in 1883 married Louisine Waldron Elder, also a collector, who the niece of his ex-wife.


Havemeyer made his money in the sugar refining business and with his profits began collecting Chinese and Japanese porcelain, rugs, pottery and textiles. Influenced by Louisine he also began to collect French Impressionist paintings including works by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Jean-François Millet, Puvis de Chavannes and Pierre Auguste Renoir. Havemeyer was also interested in Whistler's work and bought The Palace; white and pink (M.758), which he lent to an exhibition in Boston in 1904, Grey and Silver - The Beach - Holland (M.964), Grey and Green - Dordrecht (M.976) and Variations in violet and rose (M.1079), the latter being bought in April 1889.

Touring Europe in 1901 the Havemeyers also acquired a number of old master works. The Havemeyer's New York residency was designed by Charles C. Haight and decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Samuel Colman. Havemeyer died suddenly of kidney failure on 4 December 1907 amidst accusations of fraudulent business activities.


Havemeyer, L., Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector, privately printed, 1961; H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art, Portland, 1931; Sutton, D., 'The Discerning Eye of Lousine Havemeyer', Apollo, vol. 82, 1965, pp. 231-35; Gillies, L. B., 'Éuropean Drawings in the Havemeyer Collection', Connoiseur, vol. 172, 1969, pp. 148-55; Faxon, A., 'Painter and Patron: Collaboration of Mary Cassatt and Lousine Havemeyer', Woman's Art Journal 1982-83, pp. 15-20; Weitzenhoffer, F., The Havemeyers: Impressionism comes to America, New York, 1986; Bonomi, Kathryn, 'Louisine Havemeyer', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 22 March 2002).