Art: Mothers' Medium

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Hoarse-voiced Joseph Drummer, one of the shrewdest of Manhattan art dealers, invited critics and the public last week to an exhibition of fancy work. In a season that promises to be one of the richest New

York has seen since Depression, this was a show not to be missed. With the exception of two pieces, one that could not be borrowed and another that had been stolen, it contained all the work in wool embroidery that Marguerite Thompson Zorach has ever done, all she will ever do. No humble samplers, the embroidered pictures took years to finish. Nearly all were ordered on commission, cost their purchasers from $1,000 to $20,000 apiece. Wife of William Zorach, able modern sculptor, tousled, amiable Marguerite Thompson Zorach thinks of herself primarily as a painter. California-born, she met her husband in Paris where she was studying drawing. They got back to the U. S. in time to exhibit in the famed Armory Show of 1913 which introduced modern art to the U. S. Since then they have produced two children, raised a succession of cats, made great names for themselves. Both the Zorachs have always been interested in wool colors but the idea of making pictorial wool embroideries came to Mrs. Zorach suddenly one afternoon just before the War while she was looking ruefully at a painting with which she was very dissatisfied. Since then she has finished 22 wool pictures. Most elaborate and expensive of those exhibited last week was a portrait of Mr. & Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., standing with their family in front of their summer home at Seal Harbor, Me. It took three years of intermittent stitching for Mrs." Zorach to finish it. "The difficult thing," she explained last week, "is to get the right sort of linen for them. It must be loosely woven, but strong, and the warp and woof must be even. The wools are not so hard. I used to get mine from an old man down in Greenwich Village. I think he was a fence for stolen goods. . . . Sometimes I dye them myself and sometimes I take already dyed wools and re-dye them. I have some wonderful German dyes a friend gave me before the War and I still use them.

"The tapestry paintings are very good things to do for an artist who has children to take care of. You see painting is continuous and more fluid than this sort of thing. You must sustain a mood. This can be picked up and put down at will. It is more precise and you must have time to think your effects out well ahead of time. It never used to hurt my eyes either, but I'm afraid it does a little now. I shan't do any more of them. I am appalled at the thought of the work that went into these things. I can't explain where I got the patience to do them!''