Mary Jane Sexton Morgan was a fine and decorative arts collector. A school teacher by trade she was born and educated in New York City. Her father, Francis Sexton, was a New York City Merchant involved East Indian trade.
Married in 1851, she was the second wife of Charles Morgan (1795â€“1878), a shipping, railroad and iron magnate also involved in the India trade. Charles Morgan owned the Morgan Line which ran between New York, New Orleans and Texas (Morgan & Garrison). He also owned Morgan Iron Works, the Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company and was a cousin of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913).
Mary Morganâ€™s 1886 Auction, conducted by Thomas E. Kirby via the American Art Galleries at New Yorkâ€™s Chickering Hall, was a ten day sale held between March 3-15, 1886, and totaled $1,205.090.42. The auction included paintings, Chinese porcelain, silver, books, European ceramics, Webb cameo glass, plates, bronzes, sculpture, engravings and etchings.
The sale of Morganâ€™s paintings took place over three days and included work by, among others, Breton, Daubigny, HĂ©bert, GĂ©rĂ´me, Troyon, Constable, Corot, Millet, Detaile, Delacroix, Dias, Knaus, Bondheur, Bouguereau, Breton, Van Marke, Cabanal and Meissonier.
The sale of Morganâ€™s Asian art collection also took place over two days and included antique Chinese and Japanese porcelains, bronzes, ivory and wood carvings, enamels, lacquers, snuff boxes, jades, and other cabinet art objects.
Artwork from Mary Morganâ€™s collection can be found in various museums and private collections across the country including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and Art Institute of Chicago.