Andrew Carnegie. Henry Ford. Steve Jobs. Pioneers who rocked our world. Scofield Thayer was among them. With his magazine The Dial, he introduced provocative writers and artists to an eager America in the 1920s. In less than a decade, he transformed American culture and left a legacy that lives today. Yes, he was that important. So why don’t you know about him?
Scofield Thayer (1889-1982) was a wealthy, eccentric arts patron who edited and published The Dial, the first American magazine to promote Picasso, Matisse and Klimt and to publish T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings and Ezra Pound. He assembled a collection of modern art that’s now a highlight at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud in Vienna.
And he did most of that in just six years (1920-1926).
A wild man?
In his first year at The Dial, he spent $100,000 (that’s $1.2 million in 2017 dollars).
He once pulped an issue because he found a single punctuation mistake.
When his wife fell in love with Cummings, he blessed them.
And then Thayer disappeared — when he was 37 and at the height of his brilliant career, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The Dial closed in 1929, and he retreated into a world of his own, surrounded by caretakers.
Scofield Thayer has been a footnote in the history of the transformation of culture in America for almost a century. In this movie — the first about him — we’ll finally tell his story.
The film’s release will coincide with the eagerly anticipated opening of Obsession: Nudes by Schiele, Picasso and Klimt from the Scofield Thayer Collection July-October 2018 at The Met Breuer.