Scofield Thayer, a rich man from Worcester, was a central figure in modern literature and visual art, as well as a fascinating case of mental illness. An exhibition of some of the legendary collection he left will be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, July 3-Oct. 7.
From the Met:
"An aesthete and scion of a wealthy family, Scofield Thayer (1889–1982) was co-owner and editor of the literary magazine the Dial from 1919 to 1926. In this avant-garde journal he introduced Americans to the writings of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, Arthur Schnitzler, Thomas Mann, and Marcel Proust, among others. He frequently accompanied these writers' contributions with reproductions of modern art. Thayer assembled his large collection of some six hundred works—mostly works on paper—with staggering speed in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna between 1921 and 1923. While he was a patient of Sigmund Freud in Vienna, he acquired a large group of watercolors and drawings by Schiele and Klimt, artists who at that time were unknown in America.
"When a selection from his collection was shown at the Montross Gallery in New York in 1924—five years before the Museum of Modern Art opened—it won acclaim. It found no favor, however, in Thayer's native city, Worcester, Massachusetts, that same year when it was shown at the Worcester Art Museum. Incensed, Thayer drew up his will in 1925, leaving his collection to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He withdrew from public life in the late 1920s and lived as a recluse on Martha's Vineyard and in Florida until his death in 1982.''
To read about the collection, please hit this link.
From the show "Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art From the Collection of Roberta and Richard Huber,'' at the Worcester Art Museum, through July 9.
Adapted from an item in Robert Whitcomb’s Dec. 15 “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com.
Worcester, which I have always seen as “New England’s Pittsburgh’’ because of its metal-related companies, is enjoying a revival, including in manufacturing, which first made it rich. Indeed, in a recent three-year period, the Worcester area’s manufacturing sector grew 15 percent as measured by revenue.
The city also has numerous higher-education institutions that are contributing to its renaissance, but probably the University of Massachusetts Medical Center has been the most important, helping to turn the city into a major biomedical center. Further, there are big redevelopment projects underway downtown. Some of the revival is simply the westward expansion of the booming Greater Boston economy but some of it is due to healthy homegrown boosterism.
And there are such distinguished cultural centers as the Worcester Art Museum and some gorgeous suburbs, such as Princeton and Harvard, Mass.
Worcester has plenty of problems, of course, but its recent success is edifying for other mid-size cities, in New England and beyond. If only its winters were tad milder. Some of the city is around 1,000 feet above sea level, which makes for considerably more snow and ice than in, say, Boston, Hartford and Providence.
By the way, Worcester is somewhat misleadingly called “the second-biggest city in New England,’’ with a population of about 181,000, compared to Providence’s about 180,000, but the latter’s metro area has many more people than Worcester’s – about 1.3 million compared to Worcester’s about 800,000. Worcester proper has far more square miles, at 38.6, than Providence’s 20.6.
Like Boston and some other Colonial-era towns, Providence’s area is small because other towns in its area were quickly incorporated well before Providence could absorb their acreage as its population and economy boomed in the 19th Century. Consider that while the population of Boston itself is about 667,000, its metro area has about 4.7 million people (or "souls,'' as people used to say).
Out west, on the other hand, cities, such as Phoenix, could easily gobble up vast stretches of unincorporated and under-populated land – much of it effectively wasteland.
"The Last Judgment Tapestry'' at the the Worcester Art Museum through Sept. 18.
This 16th Century tapestry has 100 nearly life-size figures. There are parts of Worcester in which it appears that the wrath of God has already been exercised.
"Blow-Up'' (crushed synthetic velvet, fabric dye, 1997), by POLLY APFELBAUM, in the show "Nevermind: Work from the 90s,'' at the Worcester Art Museum, through March 1.
Ms. Apfelbaum thinks of this sort of work as opening up a new conceptual and physical space for painting and sculpture.
She calls it "fallen paintings,'' which are "poised between painting and sculpture.'' And she says that the floor can be an interesting place for art, since, among other things, " belongs to domesticity, the place where your dirty clothes go.''