A SELECTION OF QING PORCELAINS FROM THE ESTATE OF SIR WILLIAM CORNELIUS VAN HORNE (LOTS 1556-1564)
Born in 1843 in Chelsea, Illinois, Sir William Cornelius Van Horne worked for American railway companies in various capacities until 1882, when he was appointed general manager of Canadian Pacific Railway. Van Horne was elected president of the company in 1888, and in 1899 became president of its board of directors. Considered one of Canada's most successful businessman, he also served as executive or director of more than 40 companies in North America. After refusing two offers of knighthood, Van Horne finally accepted in1894 and was officially appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (K.C.M.C.).
The art collection formed by Van Horne ranked among the most prominent pre-First World War collections in Montreal, and included major works by important artists such as Rembrandt, Velazquez, Hals, Goya, El Greco, Turner, Gericault, Millet, Constable, Corbet, Renoir, Monet and Toulouse-Lautrec. Van Horne also amassed an impressive collection of Asian pottery and porcelain, the Japanese component of which was considered by the eminent art critic Roger Fry to be the finest outside Japan. Van Horne kept meticulous records of his acquisitions, and for his pottery and porcelain kept an album in which he painstakingly produced a miniature watercolor of many pieces.
Following his death in 1915, most of Van Horne's ceramics collection was left to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and upon the death of Lady Van Horne in 1929, a portion of the art collection went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE CANADIAN COLLECTION