Gerald and Sara Murphy dancing on the beach at East Hampton, ca. 1915
I write about products a lot, and they can excite and solve problems, but they don't always lift your spirit. This book can: Living Well Is the Best Revenge. Written by Calvin Tomkins originally as an article for the New Yorker and then published as a book in 1971, it was a bestseller and is still in print...
It tells the story of Gerald and Sara Murphy, whose home and lifestyle in France (and later, here in the US), was legendary and set a standard that many sought to emulate and fictionalize (Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night was based on their lifestyle and house, Villa America, in Antibes)...
Both the children of wealthy families, they fled their parents influence and created a life for themselves that was as creative as it was modern and rigorous. Gerald painted (one work is in the permanent collection at MoMA) and Sara painted the floors of living room black. Together they created a home that was a gathering place for "a charmed circle" of artists and writers including Picasso, Leger, Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
Tompkins book beautifully recreates their era and their unique daily life. It is also filled with photographs that will bring you back in time and remind you - perhaps - that folks back then could be far cooler than us.
>> Living Well Is the Best Revenge MLB edition
>> Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy by Amanda Vaill - also very good
>> Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy Exhibition at Yale Art Gallery now
>> Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy The book from the exhibition with lots of photographs
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