Carlotta Havemeyer was born in New York on 13 December 1901, the eldest child and daughter of H.O. Havemeyer Sr (1876-1965) and Charlotte Adelaide Green Whiting Havemeyer (1880-1962). She became engaged to Anson Alexander Bigelow (1897-1958) in May 1926 just after he was divorced; his first was to Josephine “Fifie” E. Pancoast de Wichfeld [born Widener] in 1920. Carlotta was killed when run down by a car in Tuxedo Park on 12 February 1952. Muller-Ury painted more portraits of Carlotta Havemeyer than any other member of the family.
This picture was painted in 1921/2, and a drawing survives from this year which must surely be a study for the head (Adolfo Muller-Ury Stiftung). However, in the The New York Herald picture article on the artist, Sunday, April 22, 1923, p. 24, the final illustration which shows the artist working on the 1923 portrait of Duveen shows this portrait on an easel beside it. Evidently this was painted by the artist for exhibition purposes and only subsequently was it given to his friend Henry O. Havemeyer; it could also therefore have remained in his studio until the time of the Wildenstein show in 1937.
The portrait hung in the dining room at Mountainside Farm according to the inventory taken by the Plaza Art Galleries at the request of the Executors of H. O. Havemeyer, who had was bequeathed the picture in 1965 to the New York Historical Society with many other family portraits – some by Muller-Ury – but was not accepted by them as a result of a legal action against the will by Havemeyer’s children and grandchildren. The sitter’s daughter, the late Mrs. Peter Quinn, told the editor in a letter that this picture belongs to the Newport Preservation Society, Newport, Rhode Island 02848, but they do not possess it, nor does it appear on the list of portraits which were sent to them in 1966 by Florence Havemeyer Robinson on behalf of the estate. Mrs. Theodora Noel, daughter of Cameron McRae Winslow and grand-daughter of Mrs. Theodore Havemeyer, told the editor in 1989 that it still belonged to Mrs. Quinn but that it had been reduced in size which is untrue. This uncertainty suggests that the picture may have been sold or given away.