The sitter was born on 11 September 1876 at Flushing, NY, and after two years working at the New York Board of Health Bacteriology Laboratory founded in 1897 the real estate brokers, Pease & Elliman. Lawrence Bogert Elliman was one of four sons, the others being Kenneth Benbow Elliman, Douglas Ludlow Elliman, and Roland Franklin Elliman, as well as having a sister Rosalie Southgate Elliman. Their father William Elliman died in February 1914, probably at Lyons Falls where he had gone to live in retirement. Lawrence Elliman married Edith Howard Coppell at Grace Church November 18, 1902, who died 13 August 1941. His home was at one time at 655, Park Avenue, New York and by 1940s at 122 East 56 Street. He had two children, Edyth Coppell Elliman (Mrs Prentice Talmage) born in 1906 and Lawrence Elliman Jr, born in 1908.
The artist records in his 1936 diary on September 22 that he is painting the portrait of Lawrence Elliman, and he sits to him the following three days. On the 24 September he says: ‘I believe that the portrait of L. Elliman will come off well and may give me much publicity for the people who I do not yet know…’ He sits again for him on 28 and 29 September. But it is not till the end of October that the artist returns to work on the portrait, and it only in December that the artist says, on 23 December: ‘I believe that Lawrence Elliman is content as can be about the portrait…’
A portrait called ‘Douglas B. Elliman’ was sold, Plaza Art Galleries, 9-11, East 59th Street, New York, November 24 & 25, 1947, Sale No. 2809, Lot 167A (Fetched $40.00 – marked copy in Frick Art Reference Library), but was presumably this Lawrence B. Elliman, as Muller-Ury is not known to have painted Douglas B. Elliman.