This lot is exempt from Sales Tax.
PROPERTY OF THE WADSWORTH ATHENEUM ART MUSEUM, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE ACQUISITIONS FUND
SAMUEL P. AVERY (1822-1904)
Ten of the following eleven lots form part of the collection of Barye bronzes once owned by art collector, dealer and philanthropist, Samuel Putnam Avery, and subsequently by his eldest son, Samuel Putnam Avery jr.
Born in New York City, the son of a leather merchant, Avery's early career was spent in the art of engraving on copper and wood, for which he was employed by various publishers and printers. However, a self-taught art connoisseur, he soon became a serious collector of rare paintings and etchings, and began advising well-to-do Americans on the purchase and importation of such works from the galleries of Europe. The income raised from this industry allowed Avery to start what became a highly successful art business in New York. On annual buying trips to Europe during the 1870s, he acquired or commissioned works by contemporary artists, such as Bouguereau, Gérôme and Meissonier, and returning to New York auctioned or sold them to specific collectors, most notably, William H. Vanderbilt and William T. Walters.
Avery's opinions were central in forming the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, of which he was a co-founder in 1872 and a lifelong trustee, and to which he donated many of his American paintings. His public munificence later included a gift of over 19,000 prints to the New York Public Library, helping it to establish a separate print room in 1899. Additionally, in memory of his architect son Henry O. Avery (d. 1890), he endowed the Avery Architectural Library at Columbia University, New York, bequeathing it his entire collection of over 15,000 volumes on art and architecture.
A keen collector himself, Samuel Putnam Avery jr took over the running of his father's business in 1888, and inherited the remainder of his collection on Avery senior's death in 1904. On Avery junior's own death in 1920, much of the combined collection was left to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, and to the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, where the Avery Wing was later opened in 1934.