Class Notes & Profiles

Bohemian Grande Dame: Priscilla Morgan '41

By Frances Levison Low ’41

“I don’t have time to get older,” says our classmate Priscilla Morgan ’41, as quoted in the July 19, 2004 article, “Noguchi’s Loyal Mistress,” from the New York Observer. This lively piece covers Priscilla’s longtime, warm, and peripatetic relationship with artist/sculptor/designer Isamu Noguchi, as well as her work and play life with leading figures in the worlds of art, music, theater, literature, and finance. Also noted is Priscilla’s connection with Vassar, and her role as generous alumna and donor to the college of Noguchi’s work, including her own collection of his sculpture, paintings, and papers.

Isamu Noguchi was a world-renowned artist, half Japanese, half American, famed for his sculpture interior decorations—furniture and lamps, theater and dance sets, gardens, fountains, designs. Priscilla met Noguchi in 1958 and for three decades until his death in 1988 “worshiped and wrangled with the intractable genius.” She said, “He was the love of my life.”

Priscilla is a respected and successful literary agent who worked throughout the theatrical world, innovated in TV, and now devotes her skills to working with creative artists of sculpture and painting. Priscilla, a collector and connector of people, cultivated the talented young and as yet unknown, as well as many risen stars. As the article states, “She is that rare patron whose phone book is more important than her pocket book.” The “extraordinary” men in her life included Buckminster Fuller, Willem de Kooning, Richard Linder, Christo, Saul Steinberg. Her many friendships included Ezra Pound, Groucho Marx, Arthur Penn, Warren Beatty, and Fran Fergusson of Vassar!

This year, along with entertaining and incessant travels, Priscilla’s main agenda includes her work with the reopening of Noguchi’s Garden Museum after extensive renovation, and the Noguchi retrospective at the Whitney Museum—all routine in the life of this “Bohemian Grande Dame.”