KOHLER, Mrs Charles J. (Margaret Vera [Veronica] Byrne)

Oil on canvas, 52 x 40 1/8 ins, signed lower right ‘A Muller-Ury’
A shipping label on the verso says it was sent from W.H. Bell, 110 South Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, Flo. To Mrs J.A. White, Burton, South Carolina.

Present Whereabouts Unknown

Sold Doyle’s, 175 East 87th Street, New York, N.Y. 10128, U.S.A., Wednesday, February 8, 2012, Sale 12BE01, Belle Epoque: 19th & 20th Century Decorative Arts, Lot 76, sold for $900.00

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The sitter was born on 29 September 1872 in New Rochelle, and died 1 July 1937; she was married in 1893 to Charles J. Kohler. Her father was William C. Byrne of New Rochelle.

In his diary for September 25, 1932 Muller-Ury indicates that he went to see Mrs. Kohler, who welcomed him warmly and spoke of her three married daughters, Olga, Rita and Vera. Muller-Ury must have completed the picture some time before the sitter’s death in 1937 as his diaries for 1931-1936 do not mention him working on the work.

Mrs. Rita Mathews, the sitter’s grand-daughter, informed the editor that the portrait was a full-length (she meant three-quarter length) in evening dress, and believed it to have been sold with the contents of her Palm Beach home after the sitter’s death in 1937. The heavy white and gold frame in which it was auctioned would suggest it was destined for a summer residence.

The shipping label on the back of the picture indicates that the sitter’s daughter Vera Kohler – or her third husband William Howard Bell (whom she had married in 1948) – sent the picture to her sister Rita Mary Kohler (1903-1970) who was married to Julius Augustus White. Presumably W.H. Bell, living at some point at 110 South Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, Florida, at some point between 1948 and 1970, sent the portrait of his late mother-in-law to his sister-in-law, Rita (Mrs J.A. White) who was living in Burton, South Carolina.