OTTENDORFER, Oswald


Description:
White-haired male with white sideburns and mustache. Holds wire spectacles and German language newspaper, the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. Oil on canvas, 30” x 25” (76.2 x 63.5 cms), signed centre bottom, ‘A. Muller-Ury’.

Location:
New York State Museum (2003.41.148).

Provenance:
New York State Chamber of Commerce, New York. Presented by Herman Ridder, 1905. Given to New York State Museum in 2003 by The Partnership of New York City Inc.

Bibliography:
New York Herald, November 26, 1905
Collection Catalogue, 1924, p.60, No. 193 (reproduced)
David C. Hammack, Power and Society in Greater New York at the Turn of the Century (1982) p.70 (reproduced)

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Notes

The sitter was born in Moravia on February 26, 1826, studied Law, and took an active part in the Revolutions of 1848 against the government of Metternich. He fled to Switzerland in 1849 and then came to New York in 1850, where he found employment as a subordinate in the office of the German newspaper the New Yorker Staats Zeitung, and finally he became its manager, after the death of the owner, Mr. Jacob Uhl (whose wife, born Anna Behr Uhl [1815-1884], later married Ottendorfer on July 23, 1859, and who happened to be the mother of Anna Woerishoffer). He died in New York on 15 December 1900.

Evidently a reduced autograph replica of the picture painted for the offices of the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung. Herman Ridder wrote from the offices of the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung on Tryon Row, opposite Brooklyn Bridge, on December 11, 1905 (artist’s papers) as follows:

‘My dear Mr. Muller-Ury,

Your favor of the 9th inst. at hand. Of course it will give us great pleasure to have Mr. Ottendorfer’s portrait in your exhibition and you may keep it as long as you like.

If you will send me a bill for the frame, I will pay it at once. You can be very proud of this work. I was surprised and very much pleased with the painting and have told all my friends about it. When the picture is hung in the Chamber of Commerce, the Staats-Zeitung will give it good notice in which you will not be forgotten.

                Yours faithfully,  Herman Ridder’

Curiously Muller-Ury appears not to have exhibited in December 1905 or January 1906.


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