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August 01, 2008

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John M. McKee

The provenance of the painting is itself an interesting story. Peter V. Husted, a former civil engineer in New York, owned the New England Hotel where Stephen Foster resided until he died. Husted bought the painting, supposedly as part of a syndicate, as a speculative venture with partners to sell to the Government or other interested parties. However, the asking price was too steep, and Husted ended up as the sole owner. He supposedly sold it for $25K in 1892, and this becomes a controversey in 1901 (two years after his death), when his widow and executrix sued the owners claiming that only an interest was sold in the painting, not all of it. Eventually, the painting moved to the possession of Harry Newton Blue.

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