Drusilla Modjeska Stravinsky's Lunch

ISBN 13: 9780374270896

Stravinsky's Lunch

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9780374270896: Stravinsky's Lunch
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A moving, deeply insightful study of two artists-both twentieth-century Australian women-who lived and worked in divergent realms

Drusilla Modjeska's title derives from an anecdote about the composer who, while creating a piece of music, ordered his family to remain silent while taking a meal with him-so Stravinsky could preserve his concentration on his work. Modjeska's book investigates the life patterns of women artists, most of whom have been unable to manage such a neat compartmentalization of daily life and creativity.

Stravinsky's Lunch tells the stories of two extraordinary women, both born close to the turn of the century in Australia and both destined to make important contributions to Australian painting. Stella Bowen went to London to make her career, then became a bohemian and the longtime mistress of Ford Madox Ford. Grace Cossington Smith, a spinster who never strayed far from her childhood home on the outskirts of Sydney, became one of the first Australian modernists. Their distinctive stories speak volumes about how love, art, and life intersect.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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About the Author:

Drusilla Modjeska is an Australian writer whose previous books include Poppy and The Orchard.

From Publishers Weekly:

British-born Modjeska is a longtime resident of Australia, where she published Poppy, a fictionalized biography of her mother, and The Orchard, a set of philosophico-feminist fictionalized lives that won a host of prizes down under. This book similarly recounts the separate lives of two lesser-known Australian women painters, Stella Bowen (1893-1947) and Grace Cossington Smith (1894-1984), focusing on their domestic arrangements and compromises. Bowen left Australia in 1914, never to returnDinstead painting, bearing a daughter to the married Ford Maddox Ford in London and unabashedly leading a precarious, bohemian life in Europe. A useful overview of the beginnings of modern Australian painting follow Bowen's often desperate story, before Modjeska picks up Smith in her quiet, Turramurra (Northern Australia) spinsterhood, where she painted what was around her. Modjeska seems much more interested in process than product, though she clearly loves the work of both artists, reproduced here in 85 b&w reproductions and 24 pages of color plates. (Readers may be less convinced.) Unfortunately, the lack of analysis is compounded by a glut of spectacularly banal filler, e.g., when Modjeska states, "The forties are powerful years in a woman's life, but such sweetness as there is, is mixed with the tart taste of time passing." The title refers to an unrelated anecdote in which Stravinsky, while in the throes of composing a piece, asked his family to be silent at lunchtime: the two very different and difficult domestic lives of these two women artists are the intended contrast, but regardless of the worthy intentions, neither the work nor Modjeska's mysticism make it a compelling one. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Modjeska, Drusilla
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