Ownership of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of John Jay, which was sold to the State Department's Fine Arts Fund, was incorrectly stated in an article Jan. 27. It had been owned by the 17 children and grandchildren of textile manufacturer William Jay Iselin, a direct descendant of Jay. A Jan. 27 Style story about a Christie's art auction incorrectly reported the amounts paid for certain works. The State Department's Fine Arts Fund bought Gilbert Stuart's portrait of John Jay for a record $990,000. That portrait and six others owned by Jay's descendants brought $1,881,000.
A Gilbert Stuart portrait of John Jay, secretary of foreign affairs during the second Continental Congress, which had been hanging on loan in the State Department's Adams Drawing Room for the past 12 years, was bought at auction at Christie's Saturday by the State Department's Fine Arts Fund for a record $999,000.
Clement Conger, curator of the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms, said the portrait had been paid for by money from two donors -- Gerald Freed, a philanthropist who lives at the Watergate, and David Grainger, a Chicago businessman. They are both members of the Fine Arts Committee.
The portrait, which is considered one of Stuart's greatest, is a three-quarter length. It will go back to its place of honor between portraits of George and Martha Washington in the Adams Drawing Room. The portrait was owned by John Jay Iselin, a direct descendant of John Jay. The Iselin family had loaned the portrait to the National Gallery of Art for 25 years, but moved it to the State Department upon completion of the remodeling of the Adams Drawing Room.
The portrait brought the top price for a painting at the auction of furniture and decorative arts and more than doubled its estimated price of $450,000. It was one of seven historical portraitssw,-2 sk,2 ld,10 of famous Americans, all owned by the Iselins, that sold for nearly $9 million at the auction, also setting records for works by John Trumbull and Ezra Ames.
The auction of furniture and decorative art also drew a record price for a piece of American furniture, $1,045,000 for an 18th-century Philadelphia mahogany tea table.
An 18th-century Gibbs family writing table sold for $687,000 in 1983, Christie's spokeswoman Lili Friend said.
The John Jay family collection of late-18th-century portraits of men important in the formation of the U.S. federal government originally belonged to John Jay and his son William Jay. They were consigned by their descendants and sold for $8,881,000, Friend said.
Bidding also was spirited for a portrait of John Adams, the second president, by Trumbull, which went to an anonymous bidder for $286,000, more than doubling the $120,000 estimate, said Friend.
A portrait by Ames of James Madison, the fourth chief executive, was bought for $99,000 by an anonymous buyer who will donate it privately to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said Friend. It will hang in Madison's home, now a museum, in Montpelier, Va.
The Trumbull portrait topped a previous record for the artist of $37,500 set in 1982, and the Ames work bettered the previous high of $7,700 for a pair of portraits in 1983, Friend said.
sk,3 The other paintings sold were a portrait of George Washington by Trumbull for $242,000; a portrait of Stephen Van Rensselaer by Stuart for $132,000; a Stuart portrait of Egbert Benson for $77,000 and a portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Ames for $55,000.