Polly Thayer (Starr) Search

                   © Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust  •   All rights reserved             

The bored, dispirited face of Thayer’s anonymous sitter is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in art: self-possession, deep exhaustion, and a longing for release all rolled into one.... The jaunty hat and dangling left hand, meanwhile, communicate splendid insouciance.... What a surprising painting. It could be depressing, but in fact it’s full of joy and twinkling wit.

                       - Sebastion Smee on “Shopping for Furs,” The Boston Globe, June, 2010

 Her 1936 portrait of author May Sarton, for instance, is vivid in style and spirit - composed of patches of high-key color, with the writer leaning forward and staring intensely, a cigarette burning in her hand.  It’s as powerful in its own way as Picasso’s iconic portrait of another 20th century woman writer, Gertrude Stein.

                         -Christine Temin, “Portrait in Determination,”  Boston Sunday Globe,                                August 19, 2001

But it would be her flowers…that would take all of the separate elements Thayer had so painstakingly mastered and synthesize them.  It would be a reaching that would become a touching, and therefore a knowing of the nature of her subject.

                         -Robert K. Karsten, Pastel Journal, October 2005