The Thaws Collect

Eugene and Clare Thaw in Santa Fe, New Mexico, c. 1990

“After I’ve owned them and learned about them, I don’t need them anymore. They’re with me, and I can give them away.” —Eugene V. Thaw, 1994

One of the foremost art dealers of his day, Eugene Thaw opened the New Gallery and Bookshop in New York City in 1950. Not long after his marriage to Clare Eddy in 1954, Thaw was encouraged by his wife to keep some of his favorite works, and their private collection began to take shape. After Thaw retired from art dealing in 1987, the couple’s passion for collecting extended beyond drawings to include ancient Eurasian bronzes, early medieval jewelry, Native American art, architectural models, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century oil sketches, in addition to paintings, sculpture, and furniture.

Thaw referred to himself as an intellectual art dealer. From 1968 to 2017, he and Clare gave their collection of more than four hundred drawings to the Morgan Library & Museum. The Thaws’ generosity also extended to the Fenimore Art Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Clark, where the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper was dedicated in 2016. The gallery is housed in the same building as the Clark’s Manton Study Center for Works on Paper, its esteemed research library, and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.  A part of the Drawn to Greatness exhibition is installed the gallery that bears Mr. Thaw’s name.