HANNA, Marcus Alonzo

Bust length, dressed in dark jacket and bow tie, hair greying at the temples. Oil on canvas, mounted on board, 23.1/2″ x 19.1/2″ (59.7 x 49.5 cm), signed ‘A. Muller Ury’ lower centre.

Western Reserve Historical Society, 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A. (68.83)

Estate of Mary Hanna Ross; gift of Peter Hanna in memory of Mary Hanna Ross (grand-daughter of the sitter, and aunt of the donor), 1988

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The sitter was born in New Lisbon (now Lisbon), Ohio on September 24, 1837. He began his career as an employee and later a partner in a wholesale grocery business until 1867. He then founded M.A. Hanna & Co. who sold coal, and became involved in other companies like the Globe Ship Manufacturing Co. of which he was a Director, and the Union National Bank, of which he was President. The sitter was a senator from 1897 to 1904, and directed the campaign for President William McKinley’s re-election in 1900. He died on February 15, 1904 and was buried in Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland.

Bibliography of the sitter:

Herbert David Croly, Marcus Alonzo Hanna, His Life and Work, 1912 Thomas Beer, Hanna, 1929

Perhaps painted in Cleveland, Ohio, end of 1902 or in 1903. In a letter in the artist’s papers, dated June 3, 1902, Hanna wrote from Washington that he hoped to see his portrait of McKinley but that ‘Concerning your desire to paint my portrait will say that I cannot make any engagement for a sitting, as it is impossible to find the time necessary and I am not so inclined at this time.’ However, after Senator Hanna’s death in 1904 the artist received a couple of letters from Mrs. C.A. Hanna in answer to a letter from the artist (both are undated, survive in the artist’s papers:

‘Dear Mr. Ury,

Your letter was received many days since, I see, by the date. But I have not been able to reply before, many days I cannot write, my hand trembles, and my heart is very heavy.

I should like very much to see the portrait you have painted on Mr. Hanna, as we are anxious to get the best possible likeness of him in an oil painting. But, unfortunately, I am not well enough to go to N. Y. fear I shall not be there before the fall.

But I will keep your address, and if there is no disposition made of the portrait before that time, will be very glad to see it. I should value Mr. Morgan’s opinion very highly, also Sen. Depew’s and any other of his intimate friends.

                      Most sincerely, Mrs. Mark Hanna.’

The other letter, probably written in New York, reads:

‘Dear Mr. Ury,

I wanted some of Mr. Hanna’s friends to see your portrait of him, as there are a number of portraits of him wanted for different purposes. My daughter has had one painted for me, by Zorn, which is entirely satisfactory, so it was not for myself, that I asked you to let me take it for a time. The gentlemen I have in mind have seen the portrait, but are not yet satisfied to buy it. It is too valuable a portrait for me to keep longer in my possession, so return it to you, but shall send Mr. Mather and Mr. Pope, gentlemen from Cleveland, who have two portraits to buy, one for the “Union Club,” and one for the “Chamber of Commerce.” I will give them letters of introduction to you.

          Thanking you for sending the portrait to me.

                       Most sincerely yours, Mrs. Mark Hanna.’