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Living Well Is the Best Revenge
     

Living Well Is the Best Revenge

5.0 1
by Calvin Tomkins
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Modern Painters - Wendy Vogel
This is an amazing book. It's a story about this wonderful couple who were very influential in Europe in the art world, whom Calvin Tomkins met by accident and whom he befriended. Their names are Sara and Gerald Murphy. They were kind of esoteric, but it's an incredible story, when you think about what you need to live a successful life.
Time
A marvel of taste and economy, Living Well Is the Best Revenge manages to convey the originality and grace of the Murphy's life.
From the Publisher
"        The dichotomy between art and life permeates Tomkins's book and makes up its principal charm. . . . [The Murphys]
drew artists and writers to them ineluctably. After all, they were works of art while the others--Stein,Picasso, Hemingway, MacLeish, Fitzgerald--
were only trying to create such works. . . . [This is a] beautiful and evocative memoir. . . . The charming and imperturbable Gerald Murphy
[was] a master of the art of living."
--Louis Auchincloss

"        A marvel of taste and economy, Living
Well Is the Best Revenge manages to convey the originality and grace of the Murphys' life."
                                                        --Time

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870708978
Publisher:
The Museum of Modern Art
Publication date:
12/31/2013
Pages:
156
Sales rank:
483,551
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are Saying About This

Louis Auchincloss
The dichotomy between art and life permeates Tomkins's book and makes up its principle charm... [The Murphys] drew artists and writers to them ineluctably. After all, they were works of art while the others - Stein, Picasso, Hemingway, MacLeish, Fitzgerald - were only trying to create such works... [This is a] beautiful and evocative memoir... The charming and imperturbable Gerald Murphy [was] a master of the art of living.

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Living Well Is the Best Revenge (Modern Library Series) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
I admit that I found out about “Living Well Is The Best Revenge” by Calvin Tomkins through a past Spirit & Destiny Magazine issue. Belinda Carlisle was being interviewed and recommended the book. I felt an intuitive urge to go by Carlisle’s suggestion because she projected a sharing vibe of balancing earthly concerns with her spiritual life. I must say that “Living Well Is The Best Revenge” is a candid book that mainly centers around an upper class couple by the name of Sara and Gerald Murphy. In keeping with the theme of the title, the couple lives a rich life in France, but they also find time to spend with their children and the friends they meet in their new place. I admit that I enjoyed the features on their European travels the most and the pictures that include their various colorful friends. The Murphys also endured tragedy in their lives as well. For instance, page 125 features the tragic saga of The Murphys losing both sons before they reached adulthood. “Living Well Is The Best Revenge” by Calvin Tomkins is best for those who are curious about the lives of wealthy families who resided in Europe prior to the 1950’s.