Partner Virgil Thomson
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011, Stati Uniti
11 Rue Malebranche, 75005 Paris, France
Maple Hill Cemetery, 202 Maple Hill St SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, Stati Uniti
Maurice Grosser (October 23, 1903 – December 22, 1986) was an American painter and writer and longtime companion of Virgil Thomson.
A number of composers who were both Jewish and gay had something else in common. In their youth, they had been to Paris to study composition under Nadia Boulanger: Aaron Copland in the early 1920s, Virgil Thomson in the mid-1920s (while there he met his lover, the painter Maurice Grosser), Marc Blitzstein in the late 1920s (his Russian-born lover, the conductor Alexander Smallens accompanied him to Europe in 1924), David Diamond in 1936 (his Psalm, an orchestral piece of that year, was inspired by a visit to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Père Lachaise and dedicated to André Gide).
Maurice Grosser was born on October 23, 1903, in Huntsville, Alabama.
He attended Harvard University, graduating with honors in 1924 in mathematics. Virgil Thomson entered Harvard at 23 in 1919 where, between his above-average age and homosexuality, he was lonely. Eventually he discovered the Liberal Club, an organization for Jews, socialists, and the penniless who did not otherwise fit into the school’s social environment. There Thomson met Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the great architectural historian, and Maurice Grosser, Thomson’s lifelong lover, though during their time at the Liberal Club they barely knew each other.
Thanks to a two years fellowiship, Grosser travelled to France and Italy where he took up painting.
He designed the scenario for two operas by Virgil Thomson, Four Saints in Three Acts (1934) and The Mother of Us All (1947). In 1985 he created 18 Portraits, and each lithograph was accompanied by a musical portrait composed by Thomson.
by Carl Van Vechten
Georgia O'Keeffe and Maurice Grosser, Women Who Rode Away, by Maria Chabot
He was a landscape painter and portraist, his more famous subjects being: Alfred North Whitehead, Mary Garden, Jane Bowles and the same Thomson.
Grosser wrote four three on painting: The Painter's Eye (Rinehart, 1951), Painting in our time (Charter Books, 1964), Painter's progress (C. N. Potter, 1971). At the time of his death, Grosser was writing a memoir, Visiting Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, uncompleted.
From 1956 to 1967 he served as art critic for The Nation.
Maurice Grosser died on December 22, 1986, in Manhattan and is buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville.
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