The White Blackbird: 8a Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent by Her Granddaughter

Honor Moore, Author Viking Books $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-80563-1
Rebelling against her Boston Brahmin family and ditching her fiance, spirited Margarett Sargent (1892-1978), a fourth cousin of John Singer Sargent, became a modernist painter and sculptor. Her brightly colored oils, pastels and watercolors, influenced by Matisse and Picasso, were widely exhibited in the 1920s and '30s. Her marriage in 1920 to rich Boston businessman Quincy Shaw McKean became a battleground of wills and temperaments, and Sargent had numerous affairs with men and women, including novelist Jane Bowles. She began drinking heavily in the 1930s while trying to balance the demands of raising four children and an artistic career. In 1948, Shaw McKean announced that he was divorcing her to marry tennis champion Kay Winthrop. Sargent's manic-depressive illness and alcoholism led her to undergo electroshock therapy and repeated stays in sanatoriums. In her early 40s, she gave up art and turned to horticulture, designing gardens professionally. Poet and playwright Moore, the artist's granddaughter, oscillates between straightforward biography and wistful memoir in recounting the turbulent life of a woman whose friends included Alexander Calder, Bernard Berenson, Ziegfeld star Fanny Brice and Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 377 pages - 978-0-393-33611-5
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-14-024920-0
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-393-34437-0
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