Three-quarter length seated with a large book open on his lap. Signed and dated lower right ‘A. Muller Ury 1927’.
Present Whereabouts Unknown.
The sitter (1860–1931) was an American philanthropist of New York. Colonel Friedsam was the former president of B. Altman & Company, and one of the premier art collectors in America at that time. Friedsam never married, lived in a mansion at 44 East 68th Street that was built in 1921, and left a fortune to the city of New York. A large part of his art collection was bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and another part to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
The following letter, written by the Vice-President to Muller-Ury at his home in San Marino, California, from the B. Altman & Co. premises at the block of Fifth & Madison Avenues, and 34th and 35th Street, New York, and dated June 22, 1927, and now stuck in the artist’s papers, refers to this portrait:
‘Dear Mr. Muller-Ury:
I have been away for a couple of weeks, and on my return got your letter of June 7th. I think it is a good idea to ship the portrait of the Colonel out to you in California, and we are doing that immediately. It is being shipped by American Railway Express, and I hope arrives in good order. I am very anxious to see this turn out satisfactorily, for both the Colonel and yourself, and I am sure that you will be able to make a good success with it. The Colonel is not yet in Europe: as a matter of fact, he sails next Tuesday on the Berengaria, and will be gone all summer.
That was a certainly a very unfortunate accident you had, and must have caused you a great deal of pain. I was very sorry to hear of it, and you may be sure that you have the sympathy and kindest regards of all of us.
With best wishes,
Sincerely yours, J. S. Burke.
P.S. I am sending you a photograph of the Colonel which you might wish to have as a reminder.’
The duotone photograph in the artist’s papers bears the stamp of Mary Hopson.
The artist apparently also made a bust portrait of Friedsam in 1932 as a gift to Burke according to his diary.