Title: A Political Cobbler
Date: 1873
Artist: Orfeo Orfei
Italian, 1836–1915
Medium: oil on panel
7 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (19.1 x 29.2 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Whitaker Charitable Foundation
Object Number: 145:1977
Current Location: Not On View
Signed: u.r., in brown paint: Orfeo Orfei / 1873
Louis Pisani Picture Gallery, Florence, Italy [1]

- 1975
Mae Meissner Whitaker (1883-1975), St. Louis, MO [2]

1975 - 1977
Whitaker Charitable Foundation, St. Louis, MO [3]

1977 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by the Whitaker Charitable Foundation [4]

[1] The back of the painting bears the inscription "A Political Cobbler - a modern original by Orfeo Orfei. Louis Pisani's Picture Gallery." According to an 1899 publication about Florence, the Pisani Gallery offered modern original paintings, as well as copies after ancient works, and Florentine artists [Grifi, Elvira. "Saunterings in Florence: A New Artistic and Practical Hand-book for English and American Tourists." Florence: R. Bemporad & Figlio, 1899, p. 352].

[2] Mae Meissner Whitaker, who married Lyndon C. Whitaker, a successful advertising executive, was an avid art collector whose wealth derived from the St. Louis-based McKinney Bakery Company, co-owned by her brother George Meissner, and her brother-in-law John E. McKinney. After living in California for a time, Mae Meissner Whitaker returned to St. Louis in 1942. Upon her death in 1975, The Whitaker Foundation was formed as a memorial to her husband, and as a way of supporting the arts in St. Louis ["History," Whitaker Foundation, accessed September 23, 2008, ].

[3] The Whitaker Charitable Foundation, founded by Mae Meissner Whitaker (see note [2]), gave the Museum a number of 19th century paintings as part of its initial contribution in 1977 [SLAM document files].

[4] Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 14, 1977.

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