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Happy Birthday to Joseph Pulitzer Jr.!

05/13/2013

In honor of the centenary of Joseph Pulitzer Jr.’s birth on May 13, 1913, we asked Marjorie B. Cohn, author of Classic Modern: The Art Worlds of Joseph Pulitzer Jr., to share a highlight of her findings:

After Joe graduated from Harvard College, he went to Europe and eagerly sent back to his professor, Paul J. Sachs, his reaction to a lecture that Salvador Dalí had given in the London International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936. Joe’s letter is preserved in the Sachs Papers in the Harvard Art Museums Archives. Both Sachs and Joe, even in his student days, were immaculate in their tailoring, and so I was not surprised to read Joe’s scrawl at the end of his message: “Dali wore a divine suit!” And then, to learn more about every aspect of young Joe’s initiation into the modern art world, I read published histories of the exhibition. It seems that Dalí had given a scandalously surrealist lecture, as Joe reported, but the artist was dressed in a diving suit. Joe’s final “g” had trailed off into something resembling, to me, an “e.”

See a larger image of Joseph Pulitzer Jr.’s postcard to Paul Sachs on Flickr.

Read Marjorie’s post about her experience interviewing friends of Joseph Pulitzer Jr. on the Yale Press blog.

Images (top to bottom): Joseph Pulitzer Jr., with Georges Braque’s Still Life (1917), tipped onto its left side, in front of Pablo Picasso’s Woman in Yellow (1907), c. 1939. Photo: Courtesy of the Emily Rauh Pulitzer Archive; Joseph Pulitzer Jr.’s postcard to Paul Sachs, c. 1936. Photo: Courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums Archives.