© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Polly Thayer, American (Boston, Mass. 1904 - 2006 Lexington, Massachusetts)
Miss May Sarton (1912-1995)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 53.3 cm (25 x 21 in.)
framed: 92.1 x 81.9 x 3.8 cm (36 1/4 x 32 1/4 x 1 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: u.r.: Polly Thayer 36
Polly Thayer (Mrs. Donald Carter) Starr, sold; to Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1937, gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1994.

NOTE: Sachs lent the work to May Sarton from the time of his purchase until 1994, with the stipulation that it be given to the HUAM eventually.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Paul J. Sachs through Polly Thayer Starr and May Sarton
© Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Earl S. Johnston, "Lauds Exhibit of Two Artists Here", The Patriot [Harrisburg] (Harrisburg PA, December 9, 1936)

"Portraits by Polly Thayer at Philadelphia Art Alliance", Philadelphia Inquirer (November 8, 1936)

A. Z. Kruse, "At the Art Galleries", Brooklyn (NY) Eagle (November 16, 1941)

Rosamund Frost, "Polly Thayer", Art News (November 15, 1941 - November 30, 1941)

Timothy Anglin Burgard, "Polly Thayer and May Sarton: Portrait of the Artists as Young Women", Review / Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, Spring 1994), ill. p. 9

Erica E. Hirshler, A Studio of Her Own: Women Artists in Boston 1870-1940, exh. cat., MFA Publications (Boston, MA, 2001), pl. 82

Judith A. Curtis, Polly Thayer Starr (1904-2006) & the Alchemy of Painting, exh. cat., Rockport Art Association & Museum (Rockport, MA, 2017), p. 34, fig. 15, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

Portraits by Polly Thayer, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, 11/02/1936 - 11/15/1936

Polly Thayer, Harrisburg Art Association, Harrisburg, 12/07/1936 - 12/13/1936

Polly Thayer (The 1941 Burton Emmett Memorial Exhibition), Contemporary Arts Gallery (NY), New York, 11/01/1941 - 12/01/1941

The Persistence of Memory: Continuity and Change in American Cultures, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/29/1995 - 05/13/2001

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu