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Demeter's Choice: A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Artist

Dorra, Mary Tonetti

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ISBN 10: 1492731838 / ISBN 13: 9781492731832
Published by Privately Published, Santa Barbara, CA, 2014
Used Condition: Fine Soft cover
From LEFT COAST BOOKS (Goleta, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

276 pp., illus.; 23 cm. Tight, clean copy. A fictionalized account of 19th-century sculptor Mary Tonetti Dorra, grandmother of the author. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 077734

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Demeter's Choice: A Portrait of My ...

Publisher: Privately Published, Santa Barbara, CA

Publication Date: 2014

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: SIGNED

Edition: 1st.

About this title


Travel back to the Gilded Age of American history, when all that glittered was not gold. Follow young sculptor, Mary Lawrence on her journey toward truth, as she scratches the surface of the glitzy Beaux Arts community and finds that what lies beneath can be dull and hard. It’s 1892, and Mary is on the verge of an artistic breakthrough, both for herself and for women artists everywhere: the Chicago World’s Fair committee is considering the recommendation to commission her to sculpt the figure of Christopher Columbus, for exhibition in the fair’s “Court of Honor.” No other woman is allowed to show art outside the “Woman’s Building,” let alone be featured in a prominent location. But the recommendation came from renowned sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who is Mary’s friend and mentor. And this is influence enough for the committee to agree—though the decision is not unanimous. This dissent is not the only taste of the derision Mary is to face throughout her artistic pursuits. For fifteen years, Mary has followed her passion for sculpting. She studies at the Art Students League in New York where she eventually teaches, as well as the Académie Julian in Paris. Unlike most young women, she has both the financial and emotional support of her parents, who serve as a consistent source of encouragement throughout her journey. She experiences the pangs and jealousies of professional rejection, as well as the joys of the American Beaux Arts’ bohemian community. Her sister’s marriage to a conventional businessman brings out Mary’s doubts about her own life choices, but the World’s Fair commission arrives just in time with the validation she needs. And her Christopher Columbus garners high praise from critics, which provides her with many opportunities previously unheard of for women. But it isn’t enough to keep her self-doubt buried. So when Mary finds herself the object of affection of two men, she must make the choice to continue on her artistic path, or a build a comfortable, traditional future.

About the Author:

Born in Macon, Georgia, Mary Tonetti Dorra grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from the Hockaday School in Dallas and Vassar College in New York with a degree in philosophy. After graduating from Vassar, she taught in Costa Rica and Uruguay before moving to Italy, where she spent three years studying at the University of Florence and working as a research reporter in Time-Life’s Rome bureau. She returned to the United States, and after a brief time in New York at Harper’s Bazaar and Revlon, Inc, she moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at UCLA, where she earned a master’s degree in, and taught, Italian. She and her husband began their married life in 1965 in Santa Barbara, where they both taught at the University of California Santa Barbara. In 1980, Dorra returned to writing, as well as lecturing. Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Gourmet Magazine, The New York Times, HG, Elle Décor, The Los Angeles Times, and Travel and Leisure. Her two previous books, Beautiful American Gardens and Beautiful American Rose Gardens, were published by Clarkson Potter. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, where she continues to write.

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Established in Santa Barbara, California, in 2004, Left Coast Books specializes in ART BOOKS, offering thousands of titles on painting, sculpture, graphic arts, architecture, design, photography, film, video, and performance art. We also sell classics, literature, history, and a broad variety of useful academic books.

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