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.