THE LATE Alvan T. Fuller, businessman and twice Governor of Massachusetts, collected paintings. It is told that in his lifetime Fuller was a very generous man. Earlier this year some fifty of his best pictures hung in a memorial exhibit in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The museum visitor may have read this about Fuller in the exhibit’s catalog:
It is rarely given to one man in a lifetime . . . to pursue three careers and to make each of them so large and lasting a contribution to his community … In all three [Fuller) won distinction: in business, in politics and, not least, in collecting art … His presence in Congress for four years and his two terms as Governor of Massachusetts from 1925 to 1929 exemplified public stewardship of a high order, marked as they were by his forcefulness and independence . . .
But on to the collection. There was one Rembrandt, a Gainsborough, a Reynolds, a luminous Turner and several Romneys. In another room were five Renoirs, small and second-rate, a Pissarro, a Monet, a Degas. Best were some Sargent exercises: “copies” after Dutch masters. The one original Sargent was a murky oil; the one Augustus John, plainly bad...
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