Virginia Strom Precourt (1916-2008)

While well known in certain circles, Virginia Precourt lived and worked in a secluded wooded location just south of Boston, rarely exhibiting her work in public exhibitions. Despite her quiet profile, Precourt’s professional accomplishments are numerous. In addition to receiving private portrait commissions, she has painted a mural for the public library in Westwood, and has paintings in the permanent collections of the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln and the Weyerhauser Collection of the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, as well as in collections, private and corporate, here and abroad. In 1980 she received the John Singleton Copley Master’s Medallion from the Copley Society of Boston. 

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As a high school sophomore, Precourt was awarded a scholarship enabling her to spend a summer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  In the heart of the Great Depression she came to Boston after her graduation and enrolled at the Museum School. She was dissatisfied with the way they taught fundamentals, however, and switched to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Precourt’s choice of subject matter was provocative, given her passion for permanence. She scrutinized rocks, sky and water, wringing from them what is universal and what is beautiful, but beauty is, after all, temporal. These are the threads that run through all of her work – a love of beauty, a regard for what is universal, and the humility of not taking herself too seriously. Aside from polyfresco and pasteleaf, which are discrete techniques involving prescribed steps, she nearly always worked on a toned ground and used a number of materials: charcoal, pencil, colored pencil, ink and pastel for drawing; casein, acrylic, gesso and oil for painting. What nourished her art was a balance of ingredients, some steadfast and rock solid, and others as transient as a smile.

Virginia Precourt battled with failing health until November 22, 2008, when she passed away peacefully in her home in Dover, Massachusetts. Virginia was inspirational to us all for her strength and ingenuity, and we are thankful to have enjoyed her company and her artwork these many years.

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