#OTD in 1900, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was born in #Montgomery AL. Her husband, the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, used her life and personality as the inspiration for the heroines of his greatest novels, particularly "The Great Gatsby" (1925) and "Tender Is the Night" (1934). When their relationship began, she celebrated their shared flamboyance: “Both of us are very splashy, vivid pictures, those kind with the details left out,” she wrote him, “but I know our colors will blend, and I think we’ll look very well hanging beside each other in the gallery of life.” He called her “the first American flapper,” and for the public the extravagant escapades of Scott and Zelda still epitomize the Jazz Age.
Zelda Fitzgerald eventually tired of her role as muse, but her attempts at artistic expression were overshadowed, and at times preempted, by her husband’s. She proved herself a capable writer, publishing a novel, "Save Me the Waltz" (1932) and selling short stories to periodicals; however, her stories routinely appeared under Scott’s byline. At the age of twenty-seven, Zelda devoted herself to the study of ballet, her obsessive pursuit of perfection as a dancer auguring the mental illness that plagued her for the remainder of her life. The therapeutic value of Fitzgerald’s painting is often cited, and while her art may eventually have been colored by her state of mind, she had specific goals for her creative output. Her painting style was eclectic, a superficial combination of the Cubist and Expressionist idioms she encountered in Paris in the 1920s, as seen in her piece "Ballerinas" featured below.
Circumstances never allowed Fitzgerald to build a career as a professional artist, but her powerful personality, fueled perhaps by her illness, compelled her lifelong struggle to express herself. A friend of the Fitzgeralds’, Cary Ross, organized one of the few public exhibitions of the artist’s paintings that took place during her lifetime. From 29 March to 30 April 1934, Ross displayed thirteen paintings and fifteen drawings in his studio on East Eighty-sixth Street in New York, with a small collateral exhibition in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel. At Fitzgerald’s request, the installation was titled “Parfois la Folie est la Sagesse” (Sometimes Madness is Wisdom). ... Read MoreRead Less