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Boy and Angel
1918, 1919 and 1920
oil on wood
157.6 x 125.6 cm
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Knox and Clifton Funds, 1925

Thayer acutely felt the loss of young men and women from World War I and the influenza pandemic that was brought back by soldiers who had survived. In this painting he provides solace in both figures: the boy seeking a brighter future and the angel leaning over him as the protector of unspoiled youth. The painting is signed and dated three times: 1918, which marked the end of World War I; 1919, the year Thayer exhibited it at his retrospective exhibition at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh; and April 2, 1920, identifying it as one of Thayer's last works.