Jan van Beers (Belgian, 1852-1927) Portrait of Emilie Grigsby  16.5cm (6 1/2in) diameter
Lot 244
Jan van Beers (Belgian, 1852-1927) Portrait of Emilie Grigsby 16.5cm (6 1/2in) diameter
Sold for £1,200 (US$ 1,943) inc. premium

Lot Details
(n/a) Jan van Beers (Belgian, 1852-1927)
Portrait of Emilie Grigsby
signed 'JAN VAN BEERS' (lower right), inscribed 'EMILIE GRIGSBY' (lower centre), oil on panel, tondo, unframed
16.5cm (6 1/2in) diameter

Footnotes

  • Emilie B. Grigsby (1876-1964), was the daughter of Lewis Braxton Grigsby, a Kentucky slaveowner & brothel owner and Susan Robinson Burbridge, and great granddaughter of James Fisher Robinson, Govenor of Kentucky from 1862-1863.
    She had an affair with Charles T. Yerkes, a major contributor to the developing mass-transit systems in Chicago and twenty years her senior. Their affair resulted in his second divorce.
    He built a mansion for Emilie a few blocks away from his own New York home and was a collector of fine art, including paintings attributed to Rembrandt, Reubens and Raphael.
    She was a patron of both artists, sculptors, musicians and writers. She was in her day acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful women in the world with masses of red gold hair and violet eyes. Apparently, she remained completely unspoiled, sweet tempered, generous to a fault and devoutly religious. She is immortalized as the graceful figure of "Religion" (one of six heroic sized sculptures by Paul Bartlett) in the Attic Portico above the entrance of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street.
    Emilie Grigsby collected Nineteenth Century authors, purchased fine bindings including those from the Doves Bindery and Sarah Prideaux, and assembled collections of several of the English private presses including Kelmscott, Essex House and the Vale Press. A substantial number of the Mosher books on Japan vellum were sold to Miss Grigsby by Mosher himself who first assembled a complete collection of his books up to 1897 and thereafter continued to supply Japan vellum copies of all his newly published books. Grigsby was also one of the few people who ever co-published a book with Mosher, a limited edition of only ten copies of the 1902 Rubaiyat printed on pure vellum.
    She sold her Art and Literary Collection in New York in 1912 before moving to England where she became part of the social scene fostering Anglo-American relations.
    Her great friend, Sir Shane Leslie (Winston Churchill's first cousin - their mothers were the Jerome sisters from Brooklyn) said that no portrait of that last portion of the Edwardian age just before WWI would be complete without Emilie.

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