United States

Pioneering artist rediscovered with help from granddaughter she never met

“Cocktail Napkins, Wish Fulfillment,” 1939, by Marguerita MergentimeLent by Mergentime Family ArchiveVirginia Bayer never met her grandmother, Marguerita Mergentime, but she knew she was some kind of artist. Growing up on the Upper West Side, Bayer ate off boldly patterned place mats her grandmother designed, and heard that she’d even contributed to Radio City Music Hall’s decor. But it wasn’t until Bayer’s mother died, about 11 years ago, that she realized that Mergentime had done more than create some splashy tablecloths and curtains — a lot more. “I was closing my mother’s apartment up, and in closets and in drawers and all kinds of places, I came upon all these textiles and newspaper articles,” Bayer, 73, tell ...