October 19 - 1958: Provincetown's world famous art collection which wasn't

Chrysler Museum ridiculed in The New Yorker Talk of the Town
TIME magazine ran an expose of the fraudulent paintings offered here.

1958: The world famous collection which wasn't

Provincetown's Chrysler Art Museum's brief stay on Cape Cod

In 1958 the world and Cape Cod welcomed the imminent creation of the new Walter P. Chrysler Art Museum in Provincetown, and it was featured in The New Yorker magazine's Talk of the Town that year.

But only four years later, on this day in 1962, TIME magazine ran an expose of the fraudulent paintings offered there as by masters.

New York Times Art Critic John Canaday said of the Chrysler collection,

"Within this large and fine exhibition there is secreted a second and smaller one in which pedigrees are nonexistent or dubious, and attributions are arbitrary to such an extent that, the stylistic evidence being what it is, one must question them."

Within a few months Chrysler packed up his collection and hied off to a less critical clime. Both articles are reprinted below for your interest.

The New Yorker column began: 

Flora on Cape Cod

Talk story about a visit to the recently opened Chrysler Art Museum in Provincetown on Cape Cod. Mr. Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. bought the Provincetown Methodist Church, on Commercial St. for $40,000 on April 11th.

Alterations began 2 days later & have cost $200,000 with the end still not in sight. So far, only the lower floor has been remodeled. 

Read the full story here.  

And the TIME magazine story from 1962 began:

Chrysler's Controversial Collection

When auto-rich Art Collector Walter P. Chrysler Jr. presented a show called "The Controversial Century: 1850-1950" at his own Chrysler Art Museum in Provincetown, Mass., last summer, it included, predictably, some magnificent works from his impressive if erratic collection. But where it was bad, it was very, very bad—and the doubts of New York's gossipy art world went beyond questions of taste to questions of authenticity. "It was hard to believe that the artists could have been that bad," explains one Manhattan dealer.

Read the full story here.


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.