Note from the Seller


Tom Garver here. As you know, the Guston drawing is signed "to Tom Garver, Philip Guston, 1955." In case anyone asks, "Who the hell was Tom Garver," you might tell them that I still am, and that I'm a now retired art historian who in 1965 was assistant director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. In the spring of that year, Philip Guston was a visiting artist at Brandeis, and Sam Hunter organized an exhibition of Guston's work at the museum to compliment his teaching. 

At the close of the show, I drove Philip and a carload of his smaller works back to his home in Woodstock, New York. I recall that much of the trip was taken up by a lament about his wife who had just divorced (or was divorcing) him. When we reached Guston's home and studio, we unloaded his works of art in the studio and he was kind enough to bring out a stack of drawings and asked if I would like to have one. I selected one I particularly liked because of its exquisite profile of a woman's breast. 

Later, we walked a short distance to visit Raoul Hague, the well-known American sculptor who had just installed indoor plumbing in his home and was eager to show it off. Later, Hague and I had dinner with Philip at his home. The two of them very much enjoyed the pleasures of the bottle and I happily joined in. I think I can safely say that "they drank me under the table," and I recall that I was not in tip top shape when I drove back to Brandeis the next day!

I later went on to become the founding director of what is today the Orange County Museum of Art in Orange County, California, the curator of exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and what today is the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, here. Before all of that, I was a studio assistant to the late O. Winston Link. I worked with him on some of his trips to create his visionary document in photos and sound of the last years of steam railroading in Virginia and West Virginia. Decades later I wrote the text of his second book of these photographs, and following Winston's death I served as the organizing curator of the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, Virginia. 

I don't think that this will embellish the provenance much, but it explains who I am. I shall very much miss this object which has been part of my life for 54 years!