The sitter was born on April 15, 1876, and was the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Theodore A. Havemeyer and nephew of Henry Osborne Havemeyer and his wife Louisine whose collection of Impressionist pictures was donated to the Metropolitan Museum in New York (see: Weitzenhoffer, Frances: The Havemeyers – Impressionism Comes to America, New York 1986). His son was also called Henry Osborne Havemeyer (who was married to Louisine Elder), and should not be confused with either the present sitter or his great uncle whom Muller-Ury never painted. He died in February 1965.
Muller-Ury was his close friend and spent many weekends at his farm at Mahwah, New Jersey, called Mountainside Farm. He also had a house at Newport, on Harrison Avenue, called Lawnfield. Henry Osborne Havemeyer Sr. owned eleven of Muller-Ury’s portraits of his family, four still lives, and a picture of his wife’s French bulldog, until his death in February 1965 when they were dispersed. Some, including a Madonna and Child which Müller-Ury painted for the Private Chapel at Mahwah, may have been destroyed when the farm suffered arson in the late 1960s. His four children were Carlotta, Henry Osborne Jr., Florence Hildegard and Frederick Charles. Muller-Ury never painted his wife Charlotte Whiting whom he married on July 11, 1900, possibly because there was already two portraits of her by J. Willet in the family (Newport Preservation Society, Rhode Island, and with her grandson Frederick C. Havemeyer VI) but possibly because Muller-Ury found her difficult.
This must be the portrait of Henry O. Havemeyer for which his wife wrote to Muller-Ury from Mountainside Farm, an undated letter (but presumably early 1913), in the artist’s papers:
‘My dear Mr. Ury
I do not know how to thank you enough for the portrait of Harry. I like it very much & I think the landscape is quite perfect —-
I appreciate very much your thought of me —
Sincerely yours, Charlotte Havemeyer’
It is not known what happened to the work, but it was not with the sitter at his death in 1965.