Circa 1888 Alexander Cartwright Oil Portrait By Charles Furneaux with Cartwright Family Provenance

Sold For: $0

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 963

Item Year: 1839

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Original oil-on-board portrait of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. by noted artist Charles Furneaux; signed by the artist (interlocking initials “CF”) in the lower left. This is the only known painting of Alexander Cartwright produced during his lifetime and one that was on display for decades in the Honolulu Library, which Cartwright helped found. The painting is housed in its original wood frame, attached to which (along the base) is the original plaque placed upon it by the library that reads “Alexander Joy Cartwright. 1820-1893/One of the Founders of the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association.” Many years ago, the Honolulu Library returned this painting (along with a few other items) to the Cartwright family at their request. (Similarly, the Hawaii State Archives also returned items loaned by the Cartwright family per their request.) In the mid 1990s the painting, like many other significant baseball pieces before it, found its way into the famed Barry Halper Collection. Barry Halper purchased the painting directly from the Cartwright family in 1995. Ideally, accompanying the painting is a one-page typed-signed letter from Alexander Joy Cartwright, IV, the great-great grandson of Alexander Cartwright, to Barry Halper, in which he details its history. In part: “My Dear Friend Barry: You are now the proud owner of the only oil portrait made during my great great grandfather’s life in the 1880’s by Charles Furneaux – a very well-known painter in Hawaii. He was a dear friend of Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. and convinced him to sit for him for a portrait his family will enjoy always.” Charles Furneaux (1835-1913) was one of the leading artists in Hawaii in the late 1800s, with many of his best-known works depicting Hawaii’s volcanoes. He was also well known for his portraits of extremely prominent individuals, including members of the Hawaiian royal family. In 1885, he received the order of Chevalier of Kapiolani from King Kalakaua in recognition of his services in advancing Hawaiian art. To this day, Furneaux is revered as one of Hawaii's most celebrated artists, and his works appears in such diverse venues as the Bishop Museum (Hawaii), The Brooklyn Museum, and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. This is not only an exceptional artistic work, but an extraordinarily important baseball piece. It is the only oil portrait of Cartwright done during his lifetime. It is a true museum piece, and a rare item that is equally deserving of display at an art museum, a museum devoted to the history and culture of Hawaii, or at The National Baseball Hall of Fame. The oil painting is without question the most impressive display piece in existence honoring Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., "The Father of Baseball." The painting (25 x 30 inches) is in Excellent to Mint condition. Framed to total dimensions of 33 x 38 inches. Reserve $20,000. Estimate (open).


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