Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Twigg-Smith, Thurston

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role Collector
dates 1921-
city Honolulu
other citiesNew Haven, CT; Barnard, VT; Nederland, CO;
gender M
historical notes A fifth-generation Hawaiian and the son of artist William Twigg-Smith (1883–1950), Thurston P. Twigg-Smith, is an art collector, patron, philanthropist, businessman and publisher (took control of the Honolulu Advertiser in 1961, and sold it in 1993 for a quarter of a billion dollars).

Twigg-Smith founded the philanthropic organization, Persis Corporation, 1967. Persis Corporation has supported Honolulu’s Contemporary Museum, the Friends of Opal Creek, Goodale Farm, Hawaii Theatre Center, Historic Hawaii Foundation, the Laniakea Foundation, the Lyman House Memorial Museum, Punahou School, and Yale University.

Twigg-Smith joined the Yale Art Gallery’s governing board in 1991. He has given close to 40 works of art the gallery, including, among others, Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park No. 24 and Wayne Thiebaud Drink Syrups (80 more gifts are promised).

In addition to those institutions listed above, he is actively involved with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

Married twice; first to Laila (1945-1998) who helped form a contemporary art collection and co-founded Honolulu’s Contemporary Arts Center with Thurston; his second wife, Sharon, an artist also collects contemporary art.

The Twigg-Smith Collection exhibited at the Honolulu Museum of Art from December 06, 2012 - July 07, 2013.

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updated 02/07/2020 18:21:37
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Archives of American Art
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Oral history interview with Thurston and Sharon Twigg-Smith, 2013 April 21 - May 25 see details...

see also:
Twigg-Smith, Laila