The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Louisine Waldron Havemeyer, 1855-1929

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1855.07.28
Place of Birth: New York, NY
Date of Death: 1929.01.06
Place of Death: New York


Louisine Waldron Havemeyer, née Elder, was an American patron and collector. In 1883 she married the collector Henry Osborne Havemeyer, the ex-husband of her aunt.


Havemeyer met Mary Cassatt at the age of 20 and through her was introduced to the work of the French Impressionists. She went on to buy works by Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Cassatt herself.

In 1901 she began collecting the works of Cézanne. From 1879 until 1881 she was in correspondence with Whistler. She questioned the realism of Whistler's portrait of Théodore Duret, Arrangement en couleur chair et noir: Portrait de Théodore Duret (YMSM 252), considering the pink domino to be a decorative but inappropriate accessory.

In 1882 Whistler selected five Venice pastels for Havemeyer for £30. These were probably Sunset, in red and brown (M.743), Campo Sta. Marta - Winter Evening (M.753), Winter Evening (M.755), The Steps (M.786) and Nocturne - San Giorgio (M.803). She later gave them to C. L. Freer in January 1917. The Palace; white and pink (M.758), Grey and Silver - The Beach - Holland (M.964), Grey and Green - Dordrecht (M.976) and Variations in violet and rose (M.1079) were bought by Havemeyer's husband and bequeathed to her at his death in 1907.

At her own death Havemeyer's collection was bequeathed by herself and her children to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.


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).