HENSCHEL, Mrs. Charles [Carl] R. (Ruth Kerr)

Oval, bust-length, smiling, tossing her head back.

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

M. KNOEDLER & CO., 556-558, Fifth Avenue, New York, March 31 – April 12, 1913, No. 16 as ‘Mrs. Henschel’.

American Art News, New York, November 4, 1911
American Art News, New York, April 5, 1913
Brooklyn Eagle, April 6, 1913
New Yorker Staats Zeitung, April 6, 1913

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The sitter (died 22 November 1974) was the daughter of Harrison Dudley and Mary Wilson Kerr and became the wife of Charles [Carl] Henschel, whom she married on 16 April 1907. Childs Frick, son of art collector Henry Frick, was one of the ushers. He was the son of Dr Edward Henschel, and grandson of Michael Knoedler the founder of the art dealing firm, a director of Knoedler’s, and President of the firm from 1928 until his death in 1956.

Muller-Ury stuck a photograph in his scrapbook of himself with Henschel, Mrs. Henschel, and Mrs. Jan von Chelminski (the second wife of his friend the artist he had known from his earliest days in America) – who was firstly married to a Henschel – taken whilst walking in Andermatt in Switzerland in the summer of 1910.

American Art News, November 4, 1911 stated that Muller-Ury had just completed this portrait. The Brooklyn Eagle, April 6, 1913 described the picture: ‘A fine likeness of the original, also, is the portrait of Mrs. Henschel, smiling, and painted in the act of tossing her head backward.’ Amongst the artist’s papers is the following letter from the sitter (presumably written from 31, East 49th Street, New York — where they were resident at the time), dated January 20, 1912:

‘Dear Mr. Muller-Ury,

I have just come home and found hanging on the wall the truly wonderful picture.

It is certainly going to be a great joy to us both – all my friends have agreed that it is by far the best picture of me that has ever been done.

First as a likeness it is wonderful – then the charm, and artistic qualities hold us all.

For the last few days, Jack tells me it has been at the Gallery, also a photograph has been taken of it – to send to our Dear ones in Paris – I am sure Mother Mimi and Pa Jan will love it, as much as we do.

I think our tea was quite a success – n’est ce pas.

Again dear Mr. Muller-Ury tous mes plus profonds compliments and my hearts best thanks.

               Very gratefully and sincerely yours,

                                               Ruth K. Henschel.’