RIVES, George Lockhart (1912)

Said to be in a Private Collection in Canaan, New Hampshire, USA.

By Family Descent.

M. KNOEDLER & CO., 556-558, Fifth Avenue, New York, March 31 – April 12, 1913, No. 2.

Town & Country, August 3, 1912
New York Herald, August 9, 1912
American Art News, Vol. 11, No. 6, November 16, 1912, p. 3
New York Herald, April 2, 1913
American Art News, April 5, 1913
Brooklyn Eagle, April 6, 1913
New Yorker Staats Zeitung, April 6, 1913

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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

Painted in Newport, at Swanhurst, in July/August 1912, a fact confirmed by a letter in the Knoedler Library dated July 8, 1912 (Domestic Letterbook May 22, 1912—September 16, 1912, No. 251) concerning the need to have a more precise address for the sitter than ‘Bellevue Avenue, Newport, R.I.’ in order to deliver a gold frame. Presumably the portrait had been begun in New York and was taken to Newport by the artist at the beginning of August to be completed, when the frame was put on the portrait. 

American Art News, Vol. 11, No. 6, November 16, 1912, reports he had ‘recently completed a full-length portrait of George Reives [sic], a strong work and an admirable likeness.’ It probably is an error to call it a full length.

A letter from Mrs. Rives, written from 69, East 79th Street, New York on November 18, 1912, in the artist’s papers, reads as follows:

‘Dear Mr. Ury,

Just a line to express to you how very much pleased and satisfied I am with your portrait of my husband – I am very grateful to you for giving us such a wonderful likeness and such a delightful picture.

             Y[our] sincere fri[end], V— Rives’

There is also a fragment of a letter from the sitter in the artist’s papers, on one side of which says ‘…bust only, I felt I must make you some extra compensation for the enlarged picture. No figure was agreed upon at that time but it occurs to me that…’ and on the other side ‘…Some of my own family who dined here yesterday were loud in praises of the picture./Very truly yours,/G.L.Rives.’