Scofield Thayer and the Dial: An Illustrated History

Scofield Thayer and the Dial: An Illustrated History

Scofield Thayer and the Dial: An Illustrated History

Scofield Thayer and the Dial: An Illustrated History

Excerpt

In the Summer of 1956, Francis Henry Taylor asked me to write a book about The Dial, as an appendage to the first major exhibition of art that he planned after his retirement from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his return to the Worcester Art Museum. The exhibition would be in the spirit of his earlier shows of the 1930's, exhibitions that brought the Worcester Art Museum and himself to international notice: Carolingian art, Rembrandt, the Dutch masters. The Bollingen Foundation subsidized the book project, and Mr. Scofield Thayer's collection of the Dial Papers was made available. As the Dial Collection of pictures and objects had been already secured for some years by Francis Taylor on long-term loan to the Worcester Art Museum, my part in the proposed exhibition was to emphasize the literary aspects of the Dial venture -- to write about The Dial and its Editor.

Compilation of data, ordering of the mass of papers in the Thayer collection, reading, looking at works of art, getting to understand The Dial and its background: these agreeable tasks occupied most of 1957. Then, early in November 1957, Francis Taylor suddenly and tragically died, at the height of his professional powers. The Dial and the Dial Collection," as the exhibition came to be known, was only one of the projects brought to a halt by that untimely and irreparable death. Fortunately the Trustees and the staff of the Worcester Art Museum carried on with the plan. A new museum director of eminence came to Worcester, Daniel Catton Rich, and in May 1959, he brought to fruition the Dial exhibition. The concrete result of that most brilliant show is the catalog, The Dial and the Dial Collection," which lists the entire Dial Collection on loan at the Worcester Art Museum and includes such supplementary matters as data on pictures and objects not in the Dial Collection but pertinent to it and illustrated in The Dial and the folio Living Art; there were also essays by Henry McBride and Daniel Catton Rich.

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