RIVES, George Lockhart (1915)

Three-quarter length seated. Oil on canvas, 125.3 x 92.3 cm (49 5/16 x 36 5/16”), signed upper left ‘A Muller Ury’.

Columbia University in the City of New York.

Columbia Alumni News, Vol. 7, 1915, p. 323 (reproduced)

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George Lockhart Rives was born on May 1, 1849 in New York and died there on August 18, 1917. His first wife died in 1887; his second wife, whom he married on March 20, 1889, was Sara Whiting Belmont. He was admitted to the Bar in 1874, but was heavily involved in the public affairs of New York. For example, he was President of the Commission to revise the Greater New York Charter in 1900, and Trustee of the New York Public Library in 1895-1914, and the President of the Board of Governors of New York Hospital from 1907-1915.

Bibliography of sitter:

“George L. Rives Dies at Newport,” New York World, August 19, 1917, p.7

“Geo. L. Rives Dies in Newport Home,” New York Sun, August 19, 1917, p.7

“George L. Rives, Noted Lawyer, Dies,” New York Times, August 19, 1917, p.15

The following letter was written from the President’s Room of Columbia University on October 11, 1915 and is in the artist’s papers:

‘My dear Mr. Muller Ury:

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 8th and to say that the portrait of Mr. Rives has given us all great satisfaction.

It is felt that when time has softened the color somewhat, it will be an unusually good painting as well as an unusually good portrait. I take note that your fee for the painting is $3500, and I am so advising the Treasurer, from whom you will presently hear.

      Very truly yours, Nicholas Murray Butler.’

On October 28, 1915 Butler thanked the artist for sending photographs of the portrait of Rives to him (same source).