Lot 947: William Henry Buck (Norwegian/New Orleans)
December 4, 2016
New Orleans, LA, USALive Auction
Description: William Henry Buck (Norwegian/New Orleans, 1840-1888), "Grain Harvest, Lowlands", 1878, after Hugh Collins (British, c. 1834-1896), oil on canvas, signed, dated and inscribed "W.H. Buck after Collins" lower right, 30 in. x 42 in., period gilt frame. Provenance: Purchased from the artist, descended in the Airey family of New Orleans. According to the family, this painting was commissioned by Thomas Lyon Airey (1837-1894), a New Orleans cotton broker in the late 19th and early 20th century. Airey held several prominent positions in the cotton industry at both the local and the national level; he was a partner in the cotton firm of T.L. Airey & Co. and served as Vice-President of the Louisiana National Bank, twice as President of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange, and as President of the National Cotton Exchange of America, among others. His son, Joseph A. Airey, Sr. (1872-1949) was also a New Orleans cotton broker and lived at 555 Audubon Street. Thomas L. Airey's daughter, Cecile (1868-1945), married John Milliken Parker (1863-1939), who served as the 37th Governor of Louisiana from 1920-1924. Note: William Henry Buck exhibited his work at the William Seebold Gallery on Canal Street in New Orleans. Seebold, a native of Germany, was active as an art dealer in New Orleans from c. 1865 to 1920. He was one of the foremost art connoisseurs in the city, exhibiting works by local artists as well as many of the top European artists of the day. From 1879 to 1916, almost every notable artist who visited New Orleans dined at his home on Prytania Street. His gallery was a meeting place for Clague, Buck, E.B. Julio and others. Seebold's gallery and home were the nexus of the art world in late 19th century New Orleans. Buck and his contemporaries certainly benefited from the opportunity to see the many European paintings that Seebold had on offer at his gallery as well as installed in his gracious mansion. Ref.: Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists 1718-1918, The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1987.