DRAGONETTE, Jessica (1943/45)

Three quarter length standing in a garden, dressed in white with a blue sash. Oil on canvas, 59-1/2” x 40”. Unsigned.

Private Collection, Alabama.

Certainly the picture, oil on canvas, 60” x 40”, sold from the artist’s estate at the Plaza Art Galleries, 9-11, East 59th Street, New York, Friday evening, December 5, 1947, Sale No. 2813, Lot 15 (Fetched $75.00 – marked copy in Frick Art Reference Library) where it is not recorded as being signed.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Jordan of Mobile, Alabama.
New Orleans Auction Galleries Inc. 801 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, U.S.A., September 20-21, 2003, Lot 381. Estimate $1500-2500. Unsold.
Presumably returned to owner after the auction and subsequently sold to the uncle of the present owners in Alabama.

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Jessica Dragonette with her husband Nicholas Meredith Turner in about 1955.

Jessica Valentina Dragonette was born February 14, 1900, and died March 18th, 1980, was a popular radio soprano before and during World War II. She married executive Nicholas Meredith Turner in 1947.

Muller-Ury met Jessica Dragonette in 1940 through the auspices of Archbishop Spellman, Martin Conboy (a New York attorney) and her sister Nadea Loftus, after singing at the Catholic Radio Hour tenth anniversary broadcast. He painted several portraits of her in the 1940s. She acquired numerous pictures by him from his estate in 1947.


Jessica Dragonette, Faith is a Song, (New York, 1951), pp. 239-241, 243-244, and 300-301.

Described in the New Orleans auction as follows: American School (Second Quarter 20th Century) “Portrait of Famed Lyric Soprano Jessica Dragonette in a Garden Setting”, oil on canvas, c. 1930’s, 59-1/2” x 40”, unframed. Condition 2003: A lovely portrait in good original condition, unframed, with minor surface grime and a few small flake losses to the lower right background.

Muller-Ury only says once in his 1943 diary that he is working on a portrait of Jessica. This picture must date from 1943-1945.

I am grateful to Erik van Wyk for providing me with the photograph of the portrait.