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The Three Friends

8 15/16 x 10 in. (22.7 x 25.4 cm)

Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815–1891)

Medium: Oil on panel
Credit Line: Bequest of Charles Phelps Taft and Anna Sinton Taft
Accession Number: 1931.399

Created by the artist; purchased by Queen Victoria [1819-1901], London, in Paris, 1848 [1]; gift to Prince Albert [1819-1861], husband of the previous, London, August 26, 1847 [2]; Queen Victoria [1819-1901] via widowhood, London, 1861 [3]; by descent to King Edward VII, son of the previous, London, 1901; gift to Princess Louise [1848-1939], sister of the previous, February 22, 1901; (purchased by Arthur Nattali, Petworth, Sussex); (purchased by J. Nattali, London); (purchased by Leroy Gallery, Paris, May 1901 and Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, April 1902) [4]; (acquired by Arthur Tooth, New York, NY); purchased by Charles Phelps Taft [1843-1929] and Anna Sinton Taft [1850-1931], Cincinnati, OH, October 16, 1902; donated to the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts, Cincinnati, OH, May 21, 1927 [5]; transferred to the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH, September 1, 2006 [6].


[1]. Purchased from the Paris Salon of 1848. See Catalogue of the Taft Museum, 1995. [2]. As a birthday present. See Taft Museum of Art object file. [3]. In 1862, the painting was listed in the Windsor Castle inventory as no. 571. See Taft Museum of Art object file. [4]. Each dealer purchased a half share. Information from Arthur Tooth records kindly supplied by Marsha Hepworth, J. Paul Getty Provenance Index. [5]. The Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts (CIFA) was formed by Charles Phelps and Anna Sinton Taft on March 22, 1927 as a non-profit corporation to stimulate the development of art and music in the City of Cincinnati and run the Taft Museum of Art, which opened in 1932. The Tafts offered $1 million for a permanent endowment fund, on the condition that the community raise $2.5 million in matching funds, which was achieved by December 3, 1928. [6]. Until August 31, 2006, the Museum was owned by CIFA, administered by CIFA’s Board of Trustees, and governed by the Taft Museum Board of Overseers. On September 1, 2006, the Museum legally separated from CIFA and began operations as its own incorporated 501(c)(3) entity. This separate incorporation led to the transfer to the separate entity after August 31, 2006 of all tangible assets comprising the Taft collection.

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