About the Artist

Callery was born in New York in 1904 and raised by wealthy parents in Pittsburgh and Manhattan. In addition to being worldly, smart, and talented, she was fun. Callery lived in Europe for a time, eventually leaving a studio overlooking the Seine in wartime Paris as the Germans advanced and returning to New York. With her was an important collection of paintings: “more Picassos than anyone in America” was the word at the Museum of Modern Art.

According to New York architect Wallace Harrison, Mary Callery was “the most elegant and beautiful woman he had ever met.” He remembered the vision of her “in a green dress, wearing an emerald the size of your fist.” Harrison later commissioned Callery for a sculpture above the proscenium of the new Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center.

–Adapted from Philip Johnson & Texas, by Frank D. Welch

Channeling the Spirit of the Laughlin Children’s Center

“I have fond memories of the arrival, installation, and dedication in November 1957 of the sculpture that Judy and I commissioned with sculptor Mary Callery for the Children’s Center courtyard. It captures the spirit of support for children that has been a guiding principle for the organization since its inception. As you may know, the Children’s Center has been a special family interest for successive generations of Laughlins. I became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1957 and remain active today, chairing the investment committee. My sons, Sandy (Alexander M. Laughlin, Jr.) and David, both serve as trustees as well.”

–From a speech delivered by Alexander M. Laughlin at the Center’s 50th Anniversary dinner

Mr. Laughlin also served as a trustee on the board of the National Gallery of Art for 14 years, the final three of which he served as chair. His keen eye for art brought the Center and “The Flying Lesson” together 54 years ago, and it’s been a perfect fit ever since.