The Algerian Tunic (self portrait) oil painting, 1927
Self portrait, charcoal drawing, 1992
Perspective, pastel painting c. 1980
I want to learn to see with my whole being, and to communicate what I experience. William Blake called it seeing through the eye rather than with the eye; instead of superimposing my own expectations on a subject, I seek what the form will reveal of essence, what the visible will tell me of the invisible. It is an effort that requires intense, prayerful attention, but if the seeing is honest and the hand is well trained, a revelation will emerge.
~ Polly Thayer (Starr)
This website is dedicated to the work of Polly Thayer (Starr): lifelong artist, Quaker seeker, multi-faceted woman and irrepressible font of “holy curiosity.”
Recipient of the National Academy’s First Hallgarten Prize in 1929 for a large nude painted when she was only twenty-four, Thayer presented her first major exhibition in Boston the following year. “Surely [this] settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country,” declared the Globe critic, “especially notable in portrait painting, but evidently gifted with that kind of genius which is not circumscribed.” Travel, study and diligence helped her develop the skills imparted by her Boston School training into a language at once precise and adventurous, which evolved through a lifetime of dedication to seeking the “invisible within the visible” both in her art and in her daily actions.
It is our hope that explorers of this site will find both delight and enrichment, and will come back often to renew their acquaintance.