PAIR OF PORTRAITS by Charles Balthazar Saint-Memin (1770-1852)

Portraits of Luke Wistar Morris and Isaac Wistar Morris
Circa 1810
Pastel, charcoal and pink ground on buff laid paper
25 1/2 inches by 19 1/2 inches

Provenance: Descended in the Morris family until purchased by us in 2023.

$9,500 for the pair

Description

Charles Balthazar Saint-Memin (1770-1852)
Portraits of Luke Wistar Morris and Isaac Wistar Morris
Circa 1810
Pastel, charcoal and pink ground on buff laid paper
25 1/2 inches by 19 1/2 inches

Provenance: Descended in the Morris family until purchased by us in 2023.

$9,500 for the pair

The sitters:

Luke Wistar Morris (1768-1830) of 225 South 8th Street, Philadelphia

– Born 25 Jun 1768 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

– Son of Samuel Morris and Rebecca (Wistar) Morris, one of 10 children, the sixth born

– Mostly associated with brother Isaac Wistar Morris in the family brewing business in Philadelphia. Together, they effectively managed Luke W. Morris & Co., a brewery located at the intersection of Dock and Pear streets.

– They retired from this business in approximately 1810, and after Luke initiated two lumber enterprises: Morris & Maxfield alongside Joseph Maxfield, and later StephenMaxfield, as well as Morris & Smith with John D. Smith.

– In 1817, Luke Wistar bought a residence at 225 South 8th Street, known as the “Morris Mansion”in Philadelphia.

Luke Wistar had two marriages. His first union, with his cousin
Elizabeth Morris Buckley (1771-1797) in 1791, resulted in one child, Samuel Buckley Morris. Through his second marriage to Ann Pancoast (1764-1858) in 1800, he had two offspring, Elizabeth Buckley and Hannah Ann.

– He died June 4, 1830, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Isaac Wistar Morris (1770-1831)

– Born July 19, 1770, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

– Son of Samuel Morris and Rebecca (Wistar) Morris, one of 10 children, the seventh born

– Married Sarah Paschall in 1795.

– In addition to working in the family brewing business with brother Luke, Isaac co-founded the mercantile and sugar refining firm of Morris & Miercken with his oldest brother Samuel.

– Both Luke and Isaac Wistar Morris were the executors of their great-aunt, Sarah Wistar’s, will.

– Died May 8, 1831

The Artist:

Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin 1770–1852) was a French portrait painter and museum director. He left France during the Revolution and worked as a portrait engraver in the United States in the early 19th century. He created portraits from life of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. He later served as museum director in Dijon.

Born in France in 1770 to Benigne Charles Fevret and Victoire Marie de Motmans, Saint-Memin was educated at Ecole MilitaireF Paris, graduating in 1785. In 1788 he served in the French Guards.

During the French Revolution Saint-Memin and his family travelled to Switzerland and then in 1793 to New York City. They intended to go to Saint-Domingue, ”to prevent the sequestration of the lands of his creole mother [However] in New York news of the sad fate of that colony made them decide to remain where they were. Faced with earning a living, they first tried raising vegetables, but … this experiment proved inadequate.” Out of necessity, Saint-Memin taught himself to paint portraits.

Saint-Memin lived in the United States from 1793 to 1814. During this period he created numerous portraits, often using the physiographic technique, invented in 1786 by Gilles-Louis Chretien.

After returning to France, he worked as director of the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon from 1817 to 1852. He died in Dijon on 23 June 1852.