Living Well Is the Best Revenge

Calvin Tomkins

Published by Plume, 1982
ISBN 10: 0525480234 / ISBN 13: 9780525480235
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Synopsis: First published in 1971 and now available for a younger generation with a new introduction by the author, Living Well Is the Best Revenge is Calvin Tomkins' now-classic account of the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, two American expatriates who formed an extraordinary circle of friends in France during the 1920s. First in Paris and then in the seaside town of Antibes, they played host to a cast of some of the most memorable artists and writers of the era, including Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Ernest Hemingway and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It was in Paris that Gerald Murphy first encountered Cubist painting, which prompted him to embark on an all-too-brief career as a painter--roughly from 1922 to 1929--during which he produced 15 works, seven of which survive, and every one of which is a unique American modernist masterpiece. This dazzling phase of work was brought to a close in 1929, when one of the Murphys' sons, Patrick, was diagnosed with tuberculosis and the family returned to New York. When their second son, Boath, succumbed to meningitis in 1935, and Patrick's death followed shortly thereafter in 1937, Murphy hung up his brush. Despite the brevity of Murphy's oeuvre, the intensity of its conception and its recently acknowledged status as a crucial precedent to Pop art have elevated Murphy's reputation considerably. In 1974, The Museum of Modern Art mounted the first Gerald Murphy retrospective. Illustrated with nearly 70 photographs from the Murphys' family album and with a special section on Murphy's paintings, Living Well presents a fascinating Lost Generation chronicle as charming and enticing as the couple themselves.

From the Inside Flap: In this enchanting memoir, New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins re-creates the privileged world of Gerald and Sara Murphy, two American originals who found themselves at the center of a charmed circle of artists and expatriate writers in France in the 1920s. Their home in Antibes, Villa America, served as a gathering place for Picasso and Léger as well as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who used the glamorous couple as models for Dick and Nicole Diver in
Tender Is the Night. A bestseller when it first appeared in 1971, Living Well Is the Best Revenge features sixty-nine intimate photographs collected from the Murphys' family album, along with reproductions
of several of Gerald Murphy's remarkable paintings--canvases that predate Pop Art by forty years.
        "Living Well Is the Best Revenge is
a superb little study, alive with an elegance very much the Murphys'," said Nancy Mitford. Critic Russell Lynes found the book to be "at once a sharp and charming evocation of an era and a cast, mostly delightful, surely famous, and usually talented, written with an elegant balance between tongue in cheek and sympathy."
        This Modern Library edition includes Calvin Tomkins's new Introduction and a rewritten last chapter.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Bibliographic Details

Title: Living Well Is the Best Revenge
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: 1982
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good
Edition: First Paperback Edition.

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Tomkins, Calvin
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