Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsBoston MA
February 23, 2003 11:00 AMCalender

N. Carlsen (Swedish, ac. 1809-1812) and Alvan Clark (American, 1804-1887) Portrait of David Murray Hoffman and His Second Wife Mary Mur

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Auction: Sale #2144 - 2144Location: BostonDate / Time: February 23, 2003 11:00AM


N. Carlsen (Swedish, ac. 1809-1812) and Alvan Clark (American, 1804-1887)

Portrait of David Murray Hoffman and His Second Wife Mary Murray Ogden Hoffman. Two miniature portraits in watercolor on ivory; the portrait of David Hoffman was painted by N. Carlsen and signed "Carlsen fecit" u.l., and the portrait of Mary Hoffman was painted by Alvan Clark, 3 x 2 1/4, 2 7/8 x 2 1/8 in. (sight),both mounted in later frames. Condition: Both are in very good condition.

Provenance: Descended through the family of the subjects. David Murray Hoffman (he later dropped the name David) was the eldest son born to Martin and Beulah Murray Hoffman, a prominent merchant in New York City. He was born in New York on September 29, 1791. He was twice married, first to Frances Amelia Burrall on December 16, 1817, and had six children. Frances died in 1833 and David (now Murray) married Mary Murray Ogden in 1837, and with her had three children. Murray Hoffman graduated from Columbia College in 1809, was admitted to the Bar, and in 1839, was appointed Assistant Vice-Chancellor. He was appointed Judge of the Superior Court in 1853, serving until 1861. He wrote several books on ecclesiastical law. He died on May 7, 1878. Included in the lot is a photocopy of a large portion of the Genealogy of the Hoffman Family, 1657-1899, written by William Wickham Hoffman, noting several distinguished Hoffman family members in American history. Also included is a photocopy of an appraised inventory of the property of Mrs. William Wickham Hoffman, wife of the great-grandson of the sitter by his first wife Frances Burrall, and the author of the Hoffman genealogy. The appraisal is dated January 23, 1968, and lists the two miniature portraits.

Note: The portrait of David Hoffman was painted by Swedish artist N. Carlsen when he visited the United States in 1812. This miniature is in the records of the Frick Reference Library in New York. The portrait of Mary Hoffman is by Alvan Clark, who was an engraver for printing calicos and supplemented his income by painting likenesses. In 1836 he opened a studio in Boston painting portraits and miniatures. Between 1829 and 1850 he exhibited at the Gallery of Paintings in Providence, the Boston Athenaeum, the National Academy of Design and the Apollo Association in New York. In 1844 he turned from painting to the manufacture of telescopes. This miniature is also in the records of the Frick Reference Library.
Estimate $1,500-2,500


Alvan Clark, David Murray Hoffman, N. Carlsen, Mary Hoffman, Frances Amelia Burrall, Murray Hoffman, Mary Murray Ogden Hoffman, Martin Hoffman, Beulah Murray Hoffman, New York City, Mary Murray Ogden, Columbia College, Assistant Vice-Chancellor , Superior Court, Judge , ecclesiastical law, William Wickham Hoffman, Frick Reference Library, United States, printing calicos, Apollo Association, Apollo Association in New York, Gallery of Paintings, Boston Athenaeum, National Academy of Design