BROWN, Natalie

A little girl in a fur hat and her hands in a muff. Signed lower right ‘A. Muller-Ury.’

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

NOE ART GALLERIES, 368, Fifth Avenue (Between 34th & 35th Streets), New York, January 5 – 19, 1903.

New York Journal, April 8, 1902
Brooklyn Eagle, August 17, 1902 (reproduced)
Town & Country, August 22, 1902, ‘A Successful Portrait Painter’, by S.E. Leisha, p.20 (reproduced).
New York Herald, January 11, 1903

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The portrait was exhibited by Muller-Ury at a studio tea on April 7, 1902 according to the New York Journal, April 8, 1902.

The sitter was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Oldfield Brown (Mary [May] W. Arents) were married in January 1894 in New York and in 1902 lived at 17 West 48th Street, New York, and had two children.  He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from 5 May, 1898 and worked for C. I. Hudson & Co in 1900 when he applied for membership of the Cotton Exchange, and eventually he formed A. O. Brown and Co. which became one of the largest wire houses in the country, with over 30 branches across the United States, telegraphing sales and purchases of shares at a rapid rate. Albert Oldfield Brown’s brokerage firm failed on 25 August 1908, then with losses reported in September as $3 million and assets of only $750,000, and he was expelled from the Stock Exchange. He sought a discharge from bankruptcy in May 1898, but was refused apparently at that time. In 1913 he was finally discharged of bankruptcy by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, and the New York Times of 12 March reported his company had liabilities of $4,695,930.  He later seems to have become President of the Amoskeag Savings Bank in Manchester, New Hampshire, and in 1920 was Chairman of the New Hampshire State Tax Commission and running for Governor on the Republican ticket which he won.

The couple were divorced in January 1903, according to the New York Times of 7 January, 1903, due to her husband’s infidelity with a chorus singer.  Mary W. Brown was the daughter of George Arents, a Director of the American Tobacco Company whose home was at 38 West 57th Street, and she was given custody of the children.  Their son was called George Arents Brown and died on 22 February 1904 in his eighth year and the funeral was held at his grandparents’ house. George Arents himself apparently died of pneumonia on 22 February 1918, aged 83, at 820 Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Brown may have been the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Brown of 42 East 57th Street, and may therefore have had a sister called Mary Hazzard Brown who married Benjamin Elihu Hall of Plattsburg, New York, in November 1893, at whose wedding the New York Times reported at that time Albert Oldfield Brown was an usher.