METCALF, Mary Brockway (Later Mrs Charles Augustus Bruce Jr.)

Half-length seated in a pink dress. Oil on canvas, 33.1/4” x 25.1/2” (84.5 x 64.8 cms) (sight), signed lower right ‘A. Muller-Ury’.

Formerly Edwards H. Metcalf, 929 South Mountain Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016, U.S.A. (1997). On loan to the Huntington Library, San Marino, and hung in the lobby of the Director’s office presumably until 2001 when Metcalf died.

Lent to the Huntington Library & Art Gallery, San Marino, CA., in 1992.

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A view of the Metcalf Drawing Room with the portrait of Mary Brockway Metcalf. Courtesy of the late Edwards Metcalf.

Muller-Ury painted this portrait of the daughter of John Brockway Metcalf and Elizabeth Huntington Metcalf (Henry Huntington’s son-in-law and daughter [born 1880], married in San Francisco on Tuesday, March 6, 1906) who lived at 345 Hampton Road, Piedmont, California, in late 1926 or early 1927. Mary Brockway Metcalf (Mrs. Charles Augustus Bruce Jr., born March 14, 1909, married September 1927) apparently died at Lake Tahoe, where the Metcalf family owned a house, in December 1928.

Henry Huntington wrote to Sir Joseph Duveen on March 15th 1927 (Duveen Archives) to say at end of letter, ‘My daughters are here, and we are enjoying their visit. Miss Metcalf is with them and is having her portrait painted by Mr. Muller-Ury.’ 

Her father wrote to Muller-Ury on June 24, 1927, ‘Your portrait of our daughter has been much admired by those who have already seen it and as I told you I am much pleased.’ However, Metcalf did not pay Muller-Ury completely until September 13, 1932 when he wrote to the artist, ‘I am glad to enclose herewith my check in amount of $1000.00 and drawn in your favor. This is in connection with the portrait you did for us of Mary Brockway. You have been most patient in this regard even though the matter was entirely understood before the work was started. I appreciate your good will and we are both highly pleased as you know with the portrait’ (artist’s papers).

I am grateful to the late Edwards Metcalf for providing me with a photograph of the picture.