Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Alice Claire Hollingsworth (1907-2000)

Alice Claire Hollingsworth was born on February 12, 1907, in Indiana, probably in Indianapolis. Her father was a clerk in city hall, her mother a dressmaker. Alice's older sister, Helen Hollingsworth, taught music in public schools. I don't know where Alice C. Hollingsworth received her art education, but in the 1930 census, she gave her occupation as "commercial artist." Alice worked in an electric shop.

Alice Claire Hollingsworth is listed on the website AskArt as an illustrator and an exhibitor at the Hoosier Salon. Unfortunately, there is very little information on her career as an artist and no images that I have found so far. Alice is more well known under a completely different identity, as a philanthropist and matron of the arts named Holly Magill.

Holly Magill was the wife of Arthur Francis Magill (1907-1995), heir to a garment business called Her Majesty Industries. In 1976, Magill sold his business to Gulf & Western for about eighteen million dollars. Three years later, Magill and his wife shocked and surprised the art world when he bought a collection of works by Andrew Wyeth, owned until then by movie executive Joseph E. Levine, and lent them to the Greenville County Museum of Art for display. The move attracted such attention that Magill received a writeup in People magazine (Jan. 21, 1980). A decade later, Magill sold his collection of twenty-six Wyeths to a Japanese buyer for forty-two million dollars.

Both Magill and his wife were recognized for their philanthropy. Holly Magill received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor, in 1982, and an honorary degree in humanities from Furman University in 1998. (Her husband received the Order of the Palmetto a month after his wife's award.) There is (or was) a gallery named in Holly's honor at the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina.

Alice Claire "Holly" Magill died on April 19, 2000, in Greenville and was buried in her adopted home city.

Text copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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