Obituary: Odile Utard Duff

COURTESY PHOTO | Odile Utard Duff, seen here in a 1975 photo, died Monday, December 10. Ms. Duff was a recognized professional expert on American art and a decorated member of  France’s Legion of Honour.

Odile Utard Duff, 88 years old, passed away peacefully in her home in Manhattan on December 10, 2012.

Born in Remiremont, Vosges, France on February 23, 1924, she was the third of seven children born to Marie-Claire and Henri Utard, who was a member of the Resistance.

Odile moved to New York in 1954, where she met William Duff, to whom she was married for 25 years.

They built a house on her beloved Shelter Island in the early 1960s. Odile earned her master’s degree from the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, where she was a Ph.D. candidate in Egyptian archaeology. She was an expert on John Singer Sargent and was director of research on the Sargent catalogue raisonné.

For many years, she was the director of the American Society of the French Legion of Honour in New York. Odile was active with Accueil New York, an organization that assists French newcomers to the U.S.

She was decorated Chevalier by the Legion of Honour in 2004 — the ninth member of her family to receive this honor.

She is survived by her son Alexander Duff and daughter Fiona Duff Kahn, both of New York City, their spouses, Gigi Ganatra Duff and Robert Kahn, and her granddaughter, Kiki Fang Duff Kahn. Her eldest daughter, Christina Duff, predeceased her.

Odile will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all who knew her. A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 14 at the Church of Saint Thomas More, 65 East 89 Street, at 2 p.m.