The Price Realized: $10,575.00. (Something is odd about the pricing here, Chinese artifacts are definitely the hot items in the auction circuit!)
The description was given:
Attributed to Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828), ca 1825, includes two unsigned portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Schermerhorn, both housed in decorative gilt and gesso frame; 32.5 x 25.5 in.
A New York sea captain, Mr. Schermerhorn became a successful merchant in the newly independent United States. Born in 1756 in the colonies, he died in 1826, shortly after this portrait was probably painted. Cornelius is shown in a three-quarter pose, seated in a mahogany Grecian chair against a swag of red drapery with blue gray sky in the background. The companion portrait of Mrs. Schermerhorn depicts her seated in a heavier gilt Grecian chair with red upholstery.
Cornelius I. Schermerhorn lived at Schodack Landing, N. Y. He was a merchant and large land and vessel owner, several of his vessels being engaged in trade with the East Indies. In 1793 he was a Lieutenant in his father's regiment. In 1798 he was Captain of Light Infantry in Brig. Gen. Henry K. Van Rensselaer's Rensselaer Co. Brigade. 1798-1800 he was Adjutant in Col. Nicholas Staat's Rensselaer Co. Regiment. March 30, 1803, he was commissioned as Major and on March 12, 1810, as Lieutenant Colonel, and April 3, 1812, as Colonel of the 43rd Regiment, 8th Brigade, Third Division of the New York Militia under command of Brigadier-General Jacob A. Fort and Major General Henry Livingston. Colonel Schermerhorn served on the frontier with his regiment during the war of 1812.
Cornelius I. Schermerhorn held the office of assessor in Schodack in 1795, and from 1800 to 1809 was supervisor of the village. In 1808, 1809, 1810, 1811 and 1818 he was a member of the New York State Assembly, and during that service he way prominently identified with the plans for the inauguration of the Erie Canal.
A characterization from the pen of a grandson, reads as follows:
"My grandfather, Col. Cornelius I. Schermerhorn lived in the house which still stands (1905) a little north of the village of Schodack Landing and quite near the bank of the river. It is said that this house was built about 1760 with bricks brought from Holland. It is an excellent type of the better class of houses of the Dutch settlers. My grandfather in many respects resembled his father, though less domineering in character. He was silent and reserved and like his father a leader among the men with whom he was associated. Through his business ability he added materially to the property left him by his father, and at the time of his death in 1828, he owned nearly all the farms in the vicinity of the village. He had in addition large vessel interests, part of which was engaged in trade with China and the East.
His wife Elizabeth Monden, was an exceedingly bright, vivacious woman, with a highly developed religious nature. She was a descendent of Heer Johannes La Montagne, vice-director of the West Indies Co., at Fort Orange, Albany, from 1659 to 1664. The family was of Huguenot origin, emigrating from Holland about the middle of the 17th century. The name became changed to Monden, Monton, Munden."
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