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Mrs. Wallace’s Subsidy

In response to:

Monet's Turf from the October 11, 1984 issue

To the Editors:

In his review of Monet by Gordon and Forge [NYR, October 11], Professor Herbert makes several surprising errors about the “vogue” of Giverny. The American photographer to whom he refers on page 45 is Stephen Shore, not Samuel Shore. Mr. Shore is the first living photographer selected by the Metropolitan Museum for a one-man show and is presently Chairman of the Department of Photography at Bard College. Stephen Shore’s “album” of Giverny photographs was initially commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum for the exhibition Monet’s Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism. I am sending Professor Herbert the Stephen Shore “albums” in French and English.

The word “subsidy” might properly be used to describe the modest grant made by Lila Acheson Wallace to Aperture, the publishers of The Gardens at Giverny. The word does not, however, properly characterize the funding that Lila Acheson Wallace made to the Versailles Foundation for the benefit of Musée Claude Monet at Giverny. Mrs. Wallace paid only for the restoration of the garden and buildings. The Musée Claude Monet operates currently on the receipts from visitors and from funds contributed by a circle of friends organized by Florence Van der Kemp. There is no continuing “subsidy” from Lila Acheson Wallace. Mrs. Wallace could be considered as “heir to the Reader’s Digest fortune” because her husband, DeWitt Wallace, died in March 1981, yet was, in fact, the co-founder of that magazine in 1922 and is so listed on the masthead today.

Barnabas McHenry

New York City

Robert L Herbert replies:

My thanks to Mr. McHenry for catching my unwitting substitution of Samuel for Stephen Shore, but this is the only “error” he points to. “Subsidy” means a grant of money, not necessarily a continuing grant.

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