Henry Clews – One of the Pioneers of Modern Wall Street
Henry Clews made a name for himself as one of the leading marketeers of United States bonds during the Civil War in New York, eventually founding Clews & Company a successful private firm in 1877.
Clews and his wife Elsie Whelan Goelet (renamed Marie by Clews) moved to France in 1914. There they rebuilt a medieval chateau known as Chateau de la Napoule on the Mediterranean waterfront.
Early Life and Education
Henry Clews hails from a Wall Street family with strong social ties. Upon marrying twice and having two children with his first spouse, Clews wanted to leave behind his Wall Street background for art and sculpture as his profession of choice.
In 1859 he co-founded the banking firm Livermore, Clews & Company which quickly rose to become one of the second-largest marketers of federal bonds during the American Civil War. Additionally he launched his own Henry Clews & Company that eventually made him rich. Additionally he took an interest in public affairs that were often financial related and served as currency adviser to Japan’s government.
Marie opened Chateau de la Napoule to the public after his death in 1937; its lintel bears its estate motto of “Mirth, Myth and Mystery”, or more simply put, “Once Upon A Time”.
Henry Clews rebelled against what his family and society expected of him, forging his own path into artistic excellence. Mirth, Myth and Mystery became his starting point in creating his inaugural solo works.
Adobe Premiere provided a powerful environment for exploring simple animation techniques to produce images that would animate in the Bon Vivant and Immortal parts of this piece, which were later projected onto Studio III’s white space.
His financial career was highly successful and made him immensely wealthy. In retirement he published the classic book Fifty Years in Wall Street; additionally, he married Lucy Worthington, descendent of President James Madison, living between 27 West 51st Street in New York and their estate at Newport, Rhode Island.
Achievement and Honors
Clews dedicated his life to rebuilding and reinterpreting a medieval Mediterranean waterfront chateau along the French Riviera – now known as Chateau la Napoule Art Foundation. For two decades he hosted parties and events for guests from American society as well as European royalty; local villagers visited for parties or events at this castle grounds.
Henry Clews’ eerie and sometimes macabre sculptures reflect his personality, his friends and family as well as France’s unique cultural milieu in which he resided. To understand his works fully requires becoming acquainted with both their social connections within Riviera Society as well as Napoule village; along with Clews’ artistic influences. Doing so will enable dancers to bring his characters alive in movement.
Henry Clews was born into wealth and privilege in New York City’s affluent Upper West Side neighborhood, to a financier father who co-founded Livermore, Clews & Co. investment firm – one of the primary marketers of government bonds during the American Civil War – alongside two partners.
While his one-year older sister achieved prominence as an anthropologist and author with three university degrees, Clews struggled to find long-term success at anything he tried; having been expelled from Amherst College, dropped out of philosophy courses at Columbia and eventually being removed from Leibniz University Hannover in Germany.
In 1914 he married Marie and relocated to France, where he built his Mediterranean castle named after Don Quixote as both home and studio until his death in 1937, when Marie opened it to the public.
Clews was one of the pioneers of modern Wall Street. He amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune from marketing federal bonds during the Civil War. After writing Fifty Years in Wall Street he succumbed to bronchitis on January 31st 1923 and died. Clews was married twice and fathered two thriving children – Elsie Worthington Clews Parsons became an esteemed anthropologist while Henry Jr became an artist.
After his financial career came to a close, he moved to France and spent two decades reconstructing a medieval chateau on the French Riviera called La Napoule based on its theme ‘Mirth Myth and Mystery’. Additionally he is known for his art which was displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and after his death Marie created a foundation aiming at keeping La Napoule as an artistic retreat.