What did you read with your coffee last weekend? We were in San Francisco visiting our daughter and I got a chance to read the Wall Street Journal at our hotel each morning. On Saturday I read some great articles. First there was an insightful piece by Anna Quindlen on five excellent novels that all deal with the topic of young women searching for their identities and their place in the world:
The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
A Sensible Life by Mary Wesley
Away by Amy Bloom
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Elizabeth Bowen with students at Bryn Mawr in 1956
She writes that Elizabeth Bowen "... may be the finest novelist most people have never heard of." The young protagonist Portia Quayne of The Death of the Heart is a 16-year-old orphan searching for herself with absolutely no guidance from the adults around her. Regarding Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, she writes "There may be no female protagonist in literature as tragic as Lily Bart -- and, yes, I include Anna Karenina when I say that." I really enjoyed reading her thoughts on these five important books. Isn't this photo of Elizabeth Bowen with her students at Bryn Mawr in 1956 fabulous?
In the same paper I read another fascinating article about the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute's retrospective "Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada": Impossible Conversations." It opens May 10 and I hope to see this exhibition next time I am in New York. It will include an imaginative film by Baz Luhrmann featuring the actress Judy Davis who was the star of "My Brilliant Career." She will be playing Elsa Schiaparelli. Fashions from both designers will be highlighted as well as their philosophies about clothing and women. This should be a spectacular fashion exhibition.
Wallis Simpson wearing Schiaparelli
In another article I learned about the "Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940" exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York. The Parisian painter Edouard Vuillard excelled at depicting the interiors of his friends' homes. He was famous for his lush and dreamy paintings of their elegant and inviting surroundings. For the last forty years of his life he had an unusual domestic arrangement, living with his art dealer Jos Hessel and his wife Lucy Hessel, with whom he was having an affair. This art exhibition looks like it will be very beautiful as well as interesting, shedding light on the personal life of this French artist.
"Lucy Hessel Reading"
This exhibition runs through September 23.
And finally, I read the gardening article "How Green is Your Garden" by Marian McEvoy. She gives us some great tips on how to find our personal outdoor palette. She says, "I think of gardens that incorporate more than one color as painterly; green-only landscapes are sculptural." She writes about planting ideas for every shade of garden and gives us examples, such as the romantic rose garden of Carolyn Roehm, pictured below.
Books, art, fashion, and gardens kept me busy reading this weekend. I hope you will check out all of these excellent articles. What have you been reading with your morning coffee?
All photos from The Wall Street Journal