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Captain L. Lüthÿ
Date: active 1854 - 1856
Biography: All that is currently known about L. Lüthÿ has been gleaned from analyzing the subjects, canvas stamps, and inscriptions on his six known paintings, four of which are in museum collections. All the paintings are of similar size, 26" to 29" high and 36" wide. His paintings are very detailed and linear in style, and he painted near duplicates of at least two of his subjects. References in books to a portrait painter Johannes Luthy of Swiss origin (1803 - 1863 or1872) are probably incorrect because of the use of umlauts in "ÿ" of his signature (not a Swiss usage) and the fact that his signatures clearly use the letter "L" and not "J" for his first name. We know that he was a Captain because one of his paintings is signed "Capt:n L. Lüthÿ". His spelling of his name with umlauts over both the "ü" and "ÿ" suggest a Dutch heritage. Except for two views of Mt. Washington with the town of North Conway in the foreground, all of his known paintings were portraits of buildings — probably done on commission for the owners. In 1854 he was in Hoboken New Jersey (a Dutch settlement chartered in 1855) where he painted a large colonial house on a hill called Sip Homestead at Hoboken New Jersey. This painting was acquired by Maxim Karolik and subsequently given to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont where it still resides. It is signed "Capt:n L. Lüthÿ Fecit. / Hoboken. 1854-" In 1854 he painted Murray Hill Fifth Avenue, New York, the elaborate home of William Coventry H. Waddell. He signed the painting "L. Luthy / 91 Bowery 1854". William Coventry H. Waddell was a financial agent for the United States Department of State, US Marshall for the southern district of New York, and Registrar of Bankruptcy. He and his wife were New York socialites and had many parties and a second floor picture gallery at their lavish Murray Hill mansion. Lüthÿ was in Boston sometime between 1853 and 1856 and purchased canvas from artist supplier N. D. Cotton. A painting of Mt Washington from North Conway Village NH bears the canvas stamp "ENGLISH PREPARED CANVAS / FROM / N. D. Cotton / 7 Tremont St / BOSTON." The dates above can be established by the fact that N. D. Cotton was only at that particular address between 1853 and 1856. In 1855 he painted two almost identical portraits of the Amoskeag Woolen Mills in Manchester, New Hampshire from the west bank of the Merrimack River. These mills were owned by the Boston Associates, and the paintings were in the possession of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, Manchester, NH, and Boston MA until the 20th century. Sometime during the 20th century, they were acquired by the Manchester Historic Association collection where they are today. He painted two almost identical pictures of Mount Washington and the village of North Conway, most likely in 1854 or 1855. One has a stamp on the back "Thompson Collection / New York --1870. / Geo. P. Rowell." and has a "54" in red paint on the verso of the canvas. It was a bequest of Henry C. Lewis in 1895 to the University of Michigan Museum of Art where it now resides. The other is in a private collection and is signed but undated except for the N.D. Cotton canvas stamp which dates it between 1853 and 1856. In 1856 a pen drawing belonging to the artist was exhibited at the Boston Atheneum as Lot #281 by "L. Luethy". This may be by the same artist, but the subject and present location of the drawing are unknown. One can speculate that Lüthÿ, perhaps a Dutch sea captain, came to the Dutch settlement of Hoboken New Jersey in 1854, traveled to New York City, then up the coast to Boston, to Manchester New Hampshire, and eventually to North Conway New Hampshire, the summer tourist grounds of the wealthy inhabitants of Boston. He may have returned to Boston in 1856, but his whereabouts after that are unknown.