Polly Thayer Starr was an artist whose career spanned over a remarkable eight decades. Her artwork reveals her tireless efforts to understand the nature and effects of seeing. Through a variety of subject matters, media, and formats, her work reveals discipline, insight, whimsy, wonder, and playfulness. We invite you to explore this site to reveal the invisible within the visible of the art and life of Polly Thayer Starr.
During her lifetime, Thayer was probably best known for her portraits, in oil and charcoal. Her first solo exhibition, at Doll & Richards in Boston in 1930, included six life-size oil portraits (including two self-portraits) and several charcoal portraits. It was so successful that it resulted in sixteen commissions for the young arttist. Thayer continued her portrait work until her mid-eighties, partly because of her fascination with human nature, and partly because she felt that it was her trade.