Although the sitter in this American miniature portrait is unknown, the artist is Ava de Lagercrantz, born as Hedvig Gustafa Lagercrantz (9 July 1862-6 May 1938), a Swedish royal portrait painter, active in Sweden (painting Oscar II and Gustav V), New York (1903-1923), Stockholm (1923 to 1936) and Paris (1936-1938).
Her photograph shows her a a young woman. She studied with Kerstin Cardon in Stockholm and Professor Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911) in Paris. She exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1888, 1889 and 1890. In Paris, she painted a portrait of August Strindberg (1849-1912), which now hangs at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. In 1935 she had an exhibition in the Artists' House in Stockholm. It was during her residence in New York, which she twice called back to Sweden, to paint the above noted reigning monarchs.
Lagercrantz was a cousin of Sweden's Ambassador in Washington, Herman Lagercrantz and this became a gateway for orders for portraits in oils, pastels and miniatures from the diplomatic corps, the world of opera and prominent New Yorkers. She was the daughter of Vice Admiral Jacob Reinhold Lagercrantz. Her well-executed portrait of the father was awarded the First Prize at the Paris Salon 1890th In the 1889 Paris Salon, she up with a self-portrait, reproduced in the catalog. Ava's uncle was Sweden's finance minister Gustav Lagercrantz .
The Ava called themselves the Lagercrantz rather than just Lagercrantz had in New York, the purpose, to inform clients that she was of noble (and non-jew) birth and therefore entitled to a slightly higher fee than other, otherwise comparable artists.
Ava died unmarried and childless. She also painted landscapes. Her photographic portrait as an older woman is held by Harvard University.
She participated in Exhibitions by Swedish-American Artists at the Swedish Club of Chicago and was listed in the Women's Who's Who of America for 1914/1915;
Lagercrantz Ava de, Carnegie Hall, 883 Seventh Av., N.T. City. Portrait and miniature painter; b. Carlscrona, Sweden; daughter of Vice-Admiral Jakob Reindold and Nedvig Otilia (Llndstrom) de Lagercrantz; educated in Sweden, studied art in Paris with Jules Lefebvre, Benjamin Constant, Tony Robert Fleury. Has exhibited in Paris Salon and various countries abroad, and in the United States. Painted King Oscar II and Princess Therese of Sweden; was called back in 1908 to Stockholm to paint King Gustaf V (miniature); has painted other royalties and many noted people. Resident of N.Y. City since 1903. Member N.Y. Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage.
It is interesting to note her membership of an anti-sufferage organisation. This may have been a pragmatic move, designed to avoid alienating potential sitters. 1453