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King W. Vidor papers, 1936-1982

Biographical Note

King Vidor was an American film director whose prolific career began in 1913, during the silent era, and continued through 1959 when he stopped directing large scale film projects. In addition to his prolific film career, Vidor was an avid collector of American Art who owned works by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, among others.
Vidor's final film,
Metaphor: King Vidor Meets Andrew Wyeth
(1980), is a documentary in which he and Wyeth discuss the impact of Vidor's most celebrated film of the silent era,
The Big Parade
, on Wyeth's painting. The project began when Wyeth wrote a lengthy letter to Vidor crediting his film, which Wyeth claimed to have watched over a hundred times, with having had a direct impact on the compositions of his paintings, which he only noticed after the fact when his wife, Betsy, pointed it out to him.
When Wyeth contacted Vidor for permission to use clips from
The Big Parade
in a documentary project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to accompany a 1976 exhibition of these works,
Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: Kuerners and Olsons
, instead of lending his film to that effort, Vidor went to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania to film Wyeth himself. Together, the two set out to make a documentary telling the story of the aesthetic relationship between their work, with Vidor directing. The film was completed in 1980 but was never commercially released.
Vidor died in 1982.