02 December, 2010

The Other Mrs McCormick & Dalí

When it comes to Harold McCormick's wives, I seldom think of Adah Wilson McCormick. My primary interest is of course our inimitable Edith. Second wife Ganna Walska, (albeit larger than life and who does deserve a post on here soon - I've numerous photos) and true other Mrs McCormick, never ceases to vex me as I'm researching Harold.

Edith (at left) & Ganna (right) circa 1920's

Then there is Adah, who can be summed up in this Nov. 9, 1942 Time magazine blurb:

Married. Adah Wilson McCormick, 38, widow of Harold Fowler McCormick, harvester millionaire; and George Tait II, 30, aircraft engineer; in Phoenix. Longtime nurse of McCormick, who left her a fortune when he died at 69 a year ago, she was his third wife (first: Edith Rockefeller; second: Diva Ganna Walska).

What interests me (and I often forget about) is the portr
ait of Adah completed by Salvador Dalí in 1941:

Originally titled Portrait of Mrs. Harold F. McCormick, it was renamed Portrait of Mrs George Tait II with regard to the aforementioned nuptials. Adah would take this portrait with her into her new marriage along with another Dalí painting, the 1940 Group of Women Imitating the Gesture of a Schooner:

Given that "Group of Women" pre-dates the McCormick portrait, it is my suspicion is that the painting was acquired in lieu of Dalí consenting to the commission. It certainly must have taxed Harold's much more pedestrian taste:

Harold's oil painting; a James MacDougal Hart (1828-1901) Loon Lake, Adirondacks which went to Edith in their divorce and consequently sold in the American Art Association/Anderson Galleries auction of her estate in 1934

As Adah had been Harold's nurse for quite some time, we could assume that what Adah wanted, Adah got. (Adah married Harold in 1938 at the estate of his sister Mary McCormick in Pasadena, CA) "Group of Women" was acquired by the Gala-Dalí Foundation in 2002. Portrait of Mrs George Tait II, (while widely reproduced and listed as a surviving Dalí) presumably remains in a private collection.

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