Hanging scroll mounted on a panel; ink and colors on silk
136.5 × 99.1 cm (53 3/4 × 39 in.); with mounting, 253 × 114 cm (100 × 45 in.)
Gift of Guy H. Mitchell
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Written by Bart Ryckbosch to Elinor Pearlstein (Nov. 6, 2008):
Guy Mitchell was the son of William Hamilton Mitchell (1817-1910), wealthy and influential banker (who made some of his early capital in the 1849 California gold rush). He was born in West Virginia, but settled in Alton, Illinois as a young man.
Wiliam H. Mitchell was married three times. A daughter of his first marriage, Mary, married Chauncey Justus Blair. Chauncey J. Blair was trustee of the Art Institute from 1897 to his death in 1916. They assembled a vast art collection, most of which was sold by the widow in 1916, via the NY art gallery Kleinberger.
William Mitchell had one son from his second marriage, John Jewell Mitchell (1853-1918). John Mitchell was trustee of the Art Institute from 1900 to 1918.
William Mitchell’s third marriage brought forth three children: Guy Hamilton Mitchell, Hortense Lenore Mitchell (later Hortense Acton) and Marguerite Mitchell (later Marguerite Sheriff).
Hortense (1872-1962)married the British artist and art dealer Arthur Acton (1879-1953) in 1893, and they lived in Florence. Their son, Harold Acton (1904-1994) was indeed the famous historian and author. They had another son, William, born in 1906, who “died in mysterious circumstances”. The Actons were good friends with the Deering family, who visited them often during their European travels. It is said that Villa Pietra may have influenced the design of the Deering estate in Florida, Vizcaya.
Guy Mitchell (Nov. 18, 1869- June 14, 1962) was independently wealthy via his father’s fortune. He owned a mansion in Florence, Villa Il Giullano, close to his sister’s and brother-in-law’s property, Villa Pietra (now New York University at Florence). Guy Mitchell officially listed his address in Chicago, 1200 Lake Shore Drive, but also, according to various official documents, lived in Berlin around 1890, in Paris for a year in 1917-18, and listed both Florence and Chicago as his residence on other occasions. He officially resided in Florence between 1909 and 1917. In December of 1920 he applied for a passport from the purpose of visiting Japan, Siam, Indo-China, India and China for “Recreation and Study”. On a January 1923 passport application he listed that he had resided “in Asia” from June 1920 to August 1922. He arrived back in Victoria, BC, from Yokohama, Japan in late 1922, and went from there on to Chicago. He made another trip to Kobe, Japan in 1925 (listed as port of destination, he may have traveled on from there). He listed his occupation on various occasions and forms as “capitalist”, “painter” and “writer”. Later trips in the late 1920s and 1930s, up to 1949, seem to have been limited to Europe, Canada and Bermuda. I do not believe Guy Mitchell was married nor had any children. He died in Riverside, California in 1962.
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