Lot 127: Theodore Roosevelt / John Singer Sargent inscribed and signed presentation portrait to Ms. Hagner, White House social secretary, 1903.

Framed presentation photograph of J.S. Sargent's White House portrait, inscribed and signed by Theodore Roosevelt ("To Miss Isabella L. Hagner, with warm regards from her friend, Theodore Roosevelt, June 14th, 1903) and signed by John Singer Sargent. Print size 6" x 9", framed size 16 1/2" x 18 1/2", with scroll and eagle finial and "TR" crest on bottom edge. As Hagner describes in her memoirs, the President famously called her Bella Wagner, and it appears as if he made this mistake in the inscription as well, as their are signs of a "W" and erasure marks. Roosevelt famously "sat" for the portrait in mid February, 1903. In March, according to the archives of the Roosevelt Center, V.G. Fischer wrote to Roosevelt and enclosed a telegram from Collier's Weekly requesting that no photographs be taken of the portrait until the magazine had been published. On March 3, Harry Clinton of Collier's Weekly sent four photographic prints to the white house to be dedicated before the image was published in in the March 28th issue. In Hagner's memoirs she recalls, "A number of portraits were painted of The President through these years. The one by John Singer Sargent was done for the White House, and I may say that it then, as it must now, stands out amongst most of the others as a real work of art. I was given a photograph of the portrait soon after it was completed, by Mr. V. G. Fischer, the famous art dealer in Washington (more of this gentleman later!). Mr. Sargent signed it, and I then left it at the office for The President's signature. It had always been a joke, ever since I had been with Mrs. Roosevelt, that The President, if he did not call me "Belle," would as often call me "Wagner" as "Hagner." What was Mrs. Roosevelt's dismay, when he brought my picture back, to find the nice inscription was duly addressed to "Miss Belle Wagner. "She then with much amusement inquired who was his dear friend to whom he was expressing "his warmest regards"! A skillful erasement was made in the office, and now it hangs near my desk, a much prized possession." (whitehousehistory.org). Ms. Hagner would later go on to marry Norman James, son of Henry James a wealthy Baltimore industrialist, and move to Overhills, his estate in Catonsville, MD. Provenance: Descended directly to present owner.

Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000

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