Polly Thayer (Starr) Search

                   © Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust  •   All rights reserved             

As a student, Thayer had given most of her attention to portraits and figure painting. A few years after her marriage to Donald C. Starr, an enthusiastic yachtsman, she agreed to give sailing a try.  It did not take well, and after two weeks of seasickness in a small boat with a few close friends, Thayer asked to be put ashore at Old Lyme, Connecticut. She was stunned by what she experienced:  

I wanted to kiss the ground!  I’d never felt about the land as I did then. It was newly revealed to me, as if I’d been born again... There’s a primitive quality... There it was, and I wanted to celebrate it, praise it, it was so wonderful... I went to a little inn, and got out my paints, and just painted like mad.*  

She became fascinated by the interplay of intimate detail and vast generality she witnessed in nature, and investigated their relationship in paint, pencil, pen and charcoal from that time forward.


M.I.T. from the Boston Esplanade, watercolor on paper, 10”x 14”