Celebrate artist Gerald Murphy and the Roaring ‘20s on Thursday, August 13, at the DMA’s French Riviera Fête!
Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe beach, Antibes, summer 1926. Gerald and Sara Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly.
In 1921, Gerald Murphy, his wife, Sara, and their three children set sail from New York to France. Their house, Villa America on the coast of Antibes on the French Riviera, became the site of legendary parties and the hub of an illustrious social circle that included expatriates F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, and many others. (Gerald and Sara were the real-life inspirations for Fitzgerald’s novel Tender Is the Night.) There, in their oasis by the sea, the Murphys entertained their friends with flamboyant beach parties, fiery debates over the newest ideas, and dinners beneath the stars.
On August 13, we’re having a French Riviera Fête of our own! Kick off the evening with jazz music by the Texas Gypsies and bring your dance partner. Come dressed in 1920s attire or borrow some of our props and take a selfie in our Murphy-inspired photo booth. Sip the featured cocktail (Gerald’s own recipe for “Juice of a Few Flowers”), and take tours of art by Murphy and those who inspired him.
Gerald Murphy, Razor, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly
Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly
Gerald Murphy only painted for seven years, and only eight of his fifteen known canvases survive today. The DMA is fortunate to own two of those surviving works: Watch and Razor. Murphy gave them directly to the Museum out of gratitude for the role its curator Douglas McAgy played in reviving his reputation as an important artist.
In 2008, the DMA hosted the exhibition Making It New about the Murphys; in a review by the New York Times, Murphy was called “the progenitor of Pop Art.” So after learning more about Gerald Murphy on August 13, mark your calendars for our International Pop exhibition opening in October.
As part of this celebration, Arts & Letters Live will feature bestselling author Liza Klaussmann at 8:00 p.m. She will share insights into her new historical novel, Villa America. Pre-order your book and buy tickets to hear her speak. Actors will also do dramatic readings of letters between Gerald, Sara, and their friends. How about bringing your book club to enjoy this festive night together?
Liza Klaussmann has quite the literary pedigree herself—she’s the great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville. A former journalist, Klaussmann was born in Brooklyn and spent ten years living in Paris. She currently lives in London.
“Liza Klaussmann’s Villa America is so artful and compassionate that I couldn’t fail to love the Murphys and everyone who fell into their orbit during those Lost Generation years, all of them fascinating and flawed and human. This is a beautifully rendered story.”―Therese Anne Fowler, author of “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”
Want to read more about Sara and Gerald Murphy? I highly recommend these books too:
Amanda Vaill, Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, a Lost Generation Love Story, 1998
Linda Patterson Miller, ed., Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends, 2002
Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.