Stewart Gregory

 

GREGORY, STEWART
(1913–1976),
an influential collector of American folk art, was descended from a Wilton, Connecticut, family whose presence in the Fairfield County town stretched back manygenerations. It was in Wilton that Gregory converted an eighteenth-century barn into a home and showplace for his collection. He also served as chairman of the boardof the Wilton Historical Society. Gregory was a dedicated cellist; it was his purchase in 1944 of a seventeenth-century Guarneri cello, in fact, that sparked his interest incollecting antiques. The holder of degrees from Princeton University (1936) and Harvard Law School (1939), Gregory retired at the age of fifty from a successfulcareer in the pharmaceutical industry.In building his collection of American folk art, Gregory often sought the advice of Mary Allis (1899–1987), the well-known Southport, Connecticut, dealer, fromwhom he purchased many major works. His collection eventually grew to include portraits by John Brewster Jr. (1766–1854), Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900),and Ammi Phillips (1788–1865), as well as decoys, weathervanes, hooked rugs, tinware, watercolors, and other objects, all of which were drawn primarily from thefolk art traditions of New England and other parts of the Northeast. He also collected American Civil War memorabilia. In 1972 the American Folk Art Museumexhibited Gregory’s collection in “An Eye on America: Folk Art from the Stewart E. Gregory Collection.” He served that institution as a vice president and trustee beginning in 1964.If anything, Gregory’s collection had even more of an impact on the field of American folk art after his death. Its sale at public auction in 1979 is often considered awatershed in the field because of the widespread public interest that it engendered and the high prices that it realized. Indeed, many of the finest works acquired byGregory are now in the collections of important American museums.
See also

Mary Allis; American Folk Art Museum;

John Brewster Jr.; Decoys, Wildfowl; Erastus Salisbury Field; Hooked Rugs; Ammi Phillips;

Tinware, Painted; Weathervanes
.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
An Eye on America: Folk Art from the Stewart E.Gregory Collection.
New York, 1972.Lipman, Jean. “Living with Antiques: Stewart Gregory’s Connecticut Barn.”
The Magazine Antiques
(January 1971).Sotheby, Parke Bernet.
Important American Folk Art and Furniture: The Distinguished Collection of the Late Stewart E.Gregory.
New York, 1979