Miss Catharine Lorillard Wolfe was the first woman to make a great contribution to the Metropolitan Museum and the only woman among the original subscribers in 1870.
When her father, New York businessman John David Wolfe, died in 1872, she inherited the family fortune and became a significant patron of artists and charities. Her art collection, which included works by fashionable French artists such as Cabanel and Bouguereau, was bequeathed to the Museum, along with a generous endowment, in 1887.
According to Art Treasures of America, she owned works by A. Achebach, O. Achenbach, C. Bargue, E.P. Berne-Bellecour, A. Bida, G. Boldini, Rosa Bonheur, Leon Bonnat, W.A. Bouguereau, J. Breton, G. Brion, A.Cabanel, C. Chaplin, P.A. Cot, T. Couture, C.A. Daubigny, A.G. Decamps, C. De Cock, P. De Coninck, F. De Mesgrigny, B. Desgoffe, E. Detaille, L. Devedeux, N. Diaz, G. Dore, J. Dupre, Mme. E. Escalier, E. Fichel, M. Fortuny, E. Frere, T. Frere, E. Fromentin, L. Gallait, J. L. Gerome, A. B. Glaize, Karl Graeb, Louis Haghe, J.L. Hamon, A.A.E. Hebert, J.F. Hennings, E. Isabey, G. Jacquet, A. B. Glaize, Karl Graeb, Louis Haghe, J.L Hamon, A. A. E. Hebert, J. F. Hennings, E. Isabey, G. Jacquet,P. Joris, W. Von Kaulbach, L. Knaus, B.C. Koekkoek, L.E. Lambert, J. Lefebvre, L. Leloir, E. Leroux, Hans Makart, C.G. Marchal, G. Max, J.L.E Meissonier, H. Merle, Meyer Von Bremen, M. Munkacsy, A. Pasini, Emelie Preyer, J.W. Preyer, M. Rico, W. Riefstahl, Tony Robert-Fleury, T. Rousseau, A.F.A Schenck, A. Schreyer, A. Seitz, A. Stevens, J. Stevens, D. Terry, A. Toulmouche, H. Trayer, C. Troyon, E. Van Marchke, E. Verboekhoven, H. Vernet, J.G. Vibert, J. Villegas, A. VOllon, A. Von Rambery, A Wahlberg, Baron G. Wappers, F. Willems, J. Worms, F. Ziem. Sculpture included: A. Allar, Beizoni, K. Froschel, A. Schcenewerk, A. Toussaint.
Note: Auction catalogue of the sale of her estate in 1888 is held at NYHS (F128 HD268 A82 1888)