Louisine Havemeyer

Louisine Waldron Elder Havemeyer (July 28, 1855 – January 6, 1929) was an art collector, feminist, and philanthropist. In addition to being a patron of impressionist art, she was one of the more prominent contributors to the suffrage movement in the United States. The impressionist painter Edgar Degas and feminist Alice Paul were among the renowned recipients of the benefactor's support.

Louisine Havemeyer
Portrait of Havemeyer by Mary Cassatt
Louisine Waldron Elder

(1855-07-28)July 28, 1855
New York, New York
DiedJanuary 6, 1929(1929-01-06) (aged 73)
New York, New York
Occupation(s)Philanthropist, Suffragist
Henry Osborne Havemeyer
(m. 1883)
Louisine Havemeyer and her Daughter Electra, 1895 pastel on paper by Mary Cassatt. Collection of Shelburne Museum


Louisine Waldron Elder was born in New York City on July 28, 1855, to a merchant George W. Elder (1831–1873) and his wife, Matilda Adelaide Waldron (1834–1907). She was the second of four children: Anne Eliza Elder, later Mrs. Henry Norcross Munn (1853–1917), Adaline Deliverance Mapes Elder, later Mrs. Samuel Twyford Peters (1859–1943), and brother George Waldron Elder (1860–1916).

Life in ParisEdit

Shortly after her father's death, Louisine Elder and her family travelled to Europe for a three-year stay. They set sail on May 25, 1873, aboard the S.S. Calabria, accompanied by their extended family, aunt Amanda McCready and family, and cousin Mary Mapes Dodge, the editor of St. Nicholas Magazine and author of Hans Brinker; or the Silver Skates.[1] Mary Mapes Dodge's sister Sophie Mapes Tolles was living in Paris with her friend Emily Sartain, studying art in the atelier of Evariste Luminais and boarding in the pensionnat of Mme. Del Sarte, widow of François Del Sarte, famed teacher of the art of expression. Louisine and her sister Addie joined Sophie Mapes Tolles and Emily Sartain in boarding at Mme. Del Sarte's, and it was during this time that Emily Sartain introduced Louisine to Mary Cassatt.[2] Fellow Philadelphians, Cassatt and Sartain had studied together at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1860s and travelled to Europe together in the fall of 1871.[3] During this time, Mary Cassatt took Louisine Elder under her wing, becoming a mentor and encouraging her to make her first art acquisition, a pastel by Edgar Degas.[4] As time passed, particularly after Louisine married Henry O. Havemeyer, Cassatt became an advisor to the Havemeyers, helping to build their art collection and facilitating the working relationship which they would have with the Impressionist Artists, including Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet. A lifelong friendship developed between Louisine Havemeyer and Mary Cassatt, who later made several pastels of Louisine and her children.

Art collectionEdit

Together with her husband, Louisine would build perhaps the finest art collection in America. Her three-story mansion at Fifth Avenue and East 66th Street in New York was filled with the finest possible examples of works by Manet, El Greco, Rembrandt, and Corot. The home was decorated 1889-1890 by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Samuel Colman, who made it an elegant showplace for their patron's varied and important collections.[5] Henry Clay Frick, J.P. Morgan, and Mrs. Isabella Stewart Gardner were among the collectors with which Mr. and Mrs. Havemeyer would have known and competed.

Family lifeEdit

On August 22, 1883, a decade after her father's death, Louisine married Henry O. Havemeyer of the American Sugar Refining Company.*

Louisine and Henry Osborne had three children:

  • Adaline Havemeyer, a.k.a. Mrs. Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen — (1884–1963)
  • Horace Havemeyer — (1886–1956)
  • Electra Havemeyer, a.k.a. Mrs. James Watson Webb — (1888–1960)

* (Prior to his marriage to Louisine, Henry had been married to Louisine's aunt Mary Louise Elder (1847–1897), but that marriage ended in divorce.)


In addition to her standing as an early and important collector of Impressionist art, Louisine Havemeyer was an advocate of women's rights.

Policeman in Syracuse welcoming Louisine Havemeyer on the arrival of the Prison Special in 1919.

Suffrage activistEdit

After her husband's death in 1907, Mrs. Havemeyer focused her attention on the women's suffrage movement. In 1912 she lent her artistic collection to Knoedler's Gallery in New York to raise money for the cause.[6] In 1913, she founded the National Woman's Party with the radical suffragist Alice Paul. (The organization was previously known as the "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage".) She repeated the money raising art exhibition at Knoedler's in 1915.[6]

With the financial backing of Mrs. Havemeyer and others like her, Ms. Paul launched an increasingly confrontational series of protests that agitated for the right to vote. Paul's most famous efforts were the 1913 National Suffrage Parade, which produced a riot on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson's first inauguration and, as a member of the Silent Sentinels, the wartime picketing of the White House. During the latter, Paul used portions of the President's speeches heralding the defense of democracy in Europe which she masterfully contrasted with the denial of liberty to American women. When jailed for obstructing traffic in 1917, she hunger struck, bringing tremendous pressure to bear on the Congress and Wilson Administration. The Nineteenth Amendment, which extended voting rights to women, was debated by Congress, gained the necessary 2/3 votes in 1919, was sent to the states for ratification, and gained the necessary 3/4 of states ratifying in 1920.

Louisine Havemeyer became a well-known suffragist, publishing two articles about her work for the cause in Scribner's Magazine. The first, entitled "The Prison Special: Memories of a Militant", appeared in May 1922, and the other, "The Suffrage Torch: Memories of a Militant" appeared in June the same year.[7] In 1912 and 1915, Mrs. Havemeyer organized exhibitions of art works from her collection at Knoedler Gallery to raise funds to support suffrage efforts.[8] She participated in marches, much to the dismay of her children[citation needed], down New York's famed Fifth Avenue and addressed a standing room only audience at Carnegie Hall upon the completion of a nationwide speaking tour. A famous photograph of Mrs. Havemeyer shows her with an electric torch, similar in design to that of the Statue of Liberty, among other prominent suffragists. Her attempt to burn an effigy of President Wilson outside the White House in 1919 drew national attention.

After a period of failing health, Mrs. Havemeyer died in 1929. Mrs. Havemeyer is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The terms of her will left a few choice paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The final bequest, made possible by the generosity of her children, included nearly two-thousand works that enrich nearly every segment of the museum's collections.

Many Tiffany pieces from her Fifth Avenue home, including a magnificent peacock mantelpiece decoration, and a chandelier are on permanent display at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.[9] A portion of the Music Room furniture suite is on view at the Shelburne Museum.[10]

Family legacyEdit

Louisine's children would continue to build upon their family's legacy as art collectors. Louisine's daughter Electra Havemeyer Webb collected American fine and folk paintings and sculpture that helped to found the Shelburne Museum. The museum showcases a "collection of collections" in fine examples of early American homes and public buildings; a general store, meeting house, log cabin, and even a steamship dot the grounds. Her great-grandson, John Wilmerding, is a well known professor of art, collector, and curator, and is best known as a prolific author of books on American art.[11] Her daughter Adaline and son Horace Havemeyer, and grandsons Horace Havemeyer, Jr. and Harry W. Havemeyer bequeathed several works from Vermeer, Goya, Corot, Manet, and others to the National Gallery of Art.[12]

Paintings bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of ArtEdit

image title painter date accession number The Met url
Portrait of Herman Doomer Rembrandt 1640 29.100.1 MET
Portrait of an Old Woman Jacob Adriaensz Backer 1640s 29.100.2 MET
Portrait of a Man, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family Rembrandt 1632 29.100.3 MET
Portrait of a Woman, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family Rembrandt 1632 29.100.4 MET
Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara El Greco 1600 29.100.5 MET
View of Toledo El Greco 1596 29.100.6 MET
The Visit Pieter de Hooch 1657 29.100.7 MET
Portrait of Petrus Scriverius Frans Hals 1626 29.100.8 MET
Portrait of Anna van der Aar Frans Hals 1626 29.100.9 MET
Majas on a Balcony Francisco de Goya 1808 29.100.10 MET
María Luisa of Parma (1751–1819), Queen of Spain Copy after Goya 1900s 29.100.11 MET
A City on a Rock Style of Goya 1900s 29.100.12 MET
Saint Cecilia Abraham van Diepenbeeck 1700s 29.100.14 MET
Portrait of a Man Hugo van der Goes 29.100.15 MET
Portrait of a Young Man with a Book Bronzino 1540 29.100.16 MET
Madonna and Child with Two Angels Botticelli 1500s 29.100.17 MET
The Burning of Sodom Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1850s 29.100.18 MET
Bacchante by the Sea Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1860
29.100.19 MET
Orpheus and Eurydice painting in the manner of Nicolas Poussin 29.100.20 MET
Mercury and Battus Francisque Millet 29.100.21 MET
Portrait of a Man Corneille de Lyon 1540 29.100.22 MET
Joseph-Antoine Moltedo Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres 1810 29.100.23 MET
Portrait of a Man with a Rosary Lucas Cranach the Elder 29.100.24 MET
Dancers Practicing at the Barre Edgar Degas 1877 29.100.34 MET
Woman Having Her Hair Combed Edgar Degas 29.100.35 MET
Woman Drying Her Foot Edgar Degas 29.100.36 MET
Woman with a Towel Edgar Degas 29.100.37 MET
At the Milliner's Edgar Degas 1882 29.100.38 MET
The Rehearsal Onstage Edgar Degas 1874 29.100.39 MET
The Artist's Cousin, Probably Mrs. William Bell (Mathilde Musson, 1841–1878) Edgar Degas 1873 29.100.40 MET
Woman Bathing in a Shallow Tub Edgar Degas 1885 29.100.41 MET
Dancers, Pink and Green Edgar Degas 29.100.42 MET
Sulking Edgar Degas 29.100.43 MET
The Collector of Prints Edgar Degas 1866 29.100.44 MET
Madame Théodore Gobillard (Yves Morisot, 1838–1893) Edgar Degas 1869 29.100.45 MET
A Woman Ironing Edgar Degas 1873 29.100.46 MET
Mother and Child (The Oval Mirror) Mary Cassatt 29.100.47 MET
Young Mother Sewing Mary Cassatt 1900 29.100.48 MET
The Dead Christ with Angels Édouard Manet 1864 29.100.51 MET
A Matador Édouard Manet 1866
29.100.52 MET
Mademoiselle V. . . in the Costume of an Espada Édouard Manet 1862 29.100.53 MET
Young man in Mayo costume Édouard Manet 1863 29.100.54 MET
George Moore (1852–1933) Édouard Manet 29.100.55 MET
Mademoiselle Isabelle Lemonnier (1857–1926) Édouard Manet 29.100.56 MET
Woman with a Parrot Gustave Courbet 1866 29.100.57 MET
The Source Gustave Courbet 1862 29.100.58 MET
Woman in a Riding Habit (L'Amazone) Gustave Courbet 1856 29.100.59 MET
Nude with Flowering Branch Gustave Courbet 1863 29.100.60 MET
After the Hunt Gustave Courbet 29.100.61 MET
The Woman in the Waves Gustave Courbet 1868 29.100.62 MET
Jo, La Belle Irlandaise Gustave Courbet 29.100.63 MET
Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley Paul Cézanne 1882 29.100.64 MET
Gustave Boyer (b. 1840) in a Straw Hat Paul Cézanne 29.100.65 MET
Still Life with Jar, Cup, and Apples Paul Cézanne 1877s 29.100.66 MET
The Gulf of Marseilles Seen from L'Estaque Paul Cézanne 1885 29.100.67 MET
Portrait of a Man with a Breastplate and Plumed Hat Rembrandt 1640s 29.100.102 MET
Portrait of a Woman Rembrandt
Ferdinand Bol
Jan Victors
1640s 29.100.103 MET
Portrait of a Woman Francesco Montemezzano 29.100.104 MET
Boy with a Greyhound Paolo Veronese 29.100.105 MET
Chrysanthemums Claude Monet 1882 29.100.106 MET
Bouquet of Sunflowers Claude Monet 1881 29.100.107 MET
Ice Floes Claude Monet 1893 29.100.108 MET
Haystacks (Effect of Snow and Sun) Claude Monet 1891 29.100.109 MET
The Four Trees Claude Monet 1891 29.100.110 MET
The Green Wave Claude Monet 29.100.111 MET
La Grenouillère Claude Monet 1869 29.100.112 MET
Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies Claude Monet 1899 29.100.113 MET
Copy after Delacroix's "Bark of Dante" Édouard Manet 29.100.114 MET
Boating Édouard Manet 1874 29.100.115 MET
The Allegory of the Sorbonne Pierre Puvis de Chavannes 1889 29.100.117 MET
Madame de Brayer Gustave Courbet 1858 29.100.118 MET
Portrait of a Woman, Called Héloïse Abélard Style of Gustave Courbet 1900s 29.100.119 MET
Charles Suisse Gustave Courbet 1861 29.100.120 MET
Spring Flowers Copy after Gustave Courbet 1855 29.100.121 MET
The Source of the Loue Gustave Courbet 1864 29.100.122 MET
Apples painting in the style of Gustave Courbet 1900s 29.100.123 MET
The Young Bather Gustave Courbet 1866 29.100.124 MET
By the Seashore Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1883 29.100.125 MET
Bather in the Woods Camille Pissarro 1895 29.100.126 MET
Dancers in the Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass Edgar Degas 29.100.127 MET
A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers Edgar Degas 1865 29.100.128 MET
The Third-Class Carriage Honoré Daumier 1862 29.100.129 MET
Madame Auguste Cuoq (Mathilde Desportes, 1827–1910) Gustave Courbet 29.100.130 MET
Christ Asleep during the Tempest Eugène Delacroix 29.100.131 MET
Alphonse Promayet (1822–1872) Gustave Courbet 1851 29.100.132 MET
Portrait of a Man Gaspare Traversi 1800s 29.100.179 MET
Narcisa Barañana de Goicoechea Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 1815 29.100.180 MET
Joseph-Henri Altès (1826–1895) Edgar Degas 1868 29.100.181 MET
Marie Dihau (1843–1935) Edgar Degas 29.100.182 MET
Portrait of a Young Woman Edgar Degas 29.100.183 MET
The Dancing Class Edgar Degas 1870s 29.100.184 MET
Woman on a Sofa Edgar Degas 1875 29.100.185 MET
Two Dancers Edgar Degas 1873 29.100.187 MET
Dancer with a Fan Edgar Degas 29.100.188 MET
Two Dancers Edgar Degas 29.100.189 MET
Bather Stepping into a Tub Edgar Degas 29.100.190 MET
The Muse: History Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1865 29.100.193 MET
Rocks in the Forest Paul Cézanne 29.100.194 MET
The Experts Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps 1837 29.100.196 MET
Anne de Pisseleu (1508–1576), Duchesse d'Étampes Corneille de Lyon 29.100.197 MET
Man with a Tankard Style of Adriaen van Ostade 1700s 29.100.198 MET
The Connoisseur Honoré Daumier 1862s 29.100.200 MET
Portrait of a Man Gustave Courbet 29.100.201 MET
The Ballet from "Robert le Diable" Edgar Degas 1871 29.100.552 MET
Woman Drying Her Arm Edgar Degas 29.100.553 MET
Fan Mount: The Ballet Edgar Degas 1879 29.100.554 MET
Fan Mount: Ballet Girls Edgar Degas 1879 29.100.555 MET
Russian Dancer Edgar Degas 1899 29.100.556 MET
Dancer with a Fan Edgar Degas 29.100.557 MET
Three Dancers Preparing for Class Edgar Degas 29.100.558 MET
Mademoiselle Lucie Delabigne (1859–1910), Called Valtesse de la Bigne Édouard Manet 1879 29.100.561 MET
Girl Weaving a Garland Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 29.100.562 MET
Reverie Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 29.100.563 MET
Portrait of a Child Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 29.100.564 MET
Sibylle Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1870s 29.100.565 MET
The Calm Sea Gustave Courbet 1869 29.100.566 MET
Bacchante in a Landscape Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1865 29.100.598 MET

See alsoEdit


  • Louisine Havemeyer.1993. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York: Ursus Press. ISBN 978-1-883145-00-2
  • Louisine W. Havemeyer. 1922. The Suffrage Torch: Memories of a Militant Scribners (May), pp. 528–538.
  • Louisine W. Havemeyer. 1922. The Prison Special: Memories of a Militant Scribners (June) pp. 661–675.
  • Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen. 1993. Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-8109-6426-6


  1. ^ Wright, Catharine Morris (1979). Lady of the silver skates : the life and correspondence of Mary Mapes Dodge, 1830-1905. Jamestown, R.I.: Clingstone Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-9602454-1-3.
  2. ^ Weitzenhoffer, Frances (1986). The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 20. ISBN 0-8109-1096-9.
  3. ^ Mathews, Nancy Mowll (1998). Mary Cassatt: A Life. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 76–82. ISBN 978-0-300-07754-4.
  4. ^ Weitzenhoffer, Frances (1886). The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 20-21. ISBN 0-8109-1096-9.
  5. ^ Weitzenhoffer, Frances (1986). The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York: Harry Abrams. ISBN 978-0-8109-1096-6.
  6. ^ a b Griselda Pollock (15 April 2013). Differencing the Canon: Feminism and the Writing of Art's Histories. Routledge. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-1-135-08440-0.
  7. ^ Gere, Charlotte; Vaizey, Marina (1999). Great women collectors. London: P. Wilson. p. 138. ISBN 0856675032.
  8. ^ Pollock, Griselda (1999). Differencing the Canon: Feminism and the Writing of Art's Histories. London: Routledge. ISBN 1135084475.
  9. ^ "University of Michigan Museum of Art catalog". Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building at Shelburne Museum". Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  11. ^ "John Wilmerding, Giving His Awe for American Art (washingtonpost.com)". www.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  12. ^ "Global Site Search Page". www.nga.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-17.

External linksEdit