Maier Museum of Art
Zelda Fitzgerald: Alice in Wonderland and Other Fairy Tales
The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph-Macon Woman's College has brought together five of the six watercolors from Zelda Fitzgerald's Alice in Wonderland series for a special exhibition that runs Oct. 22-Dec. 23, 1998. The exhibit, which includes eight of her other paintings, which depict children's fairy tales and nursery rhymes, is called "Zelda Fitzgerald: Alice in Wonderland and Other Fairy Tales." The exhibition was inspired by a 1997 gift to the Maier of Zelda's painting "The Lobster Quadrille" by Arlyn Firkins Bruccoli '55.
Fitzgerald, an accomplished writer and dancer, and the wife of acclaimed author F. Scott Fitzgerald, began painting in 1925 when she took her first lesson. After an emotional breakdown in 1930 she was encouraged by doctors in Switzerland to paint as part of her therapy. She painted flowers, landscapes and cityscapes, and made several series of paper dolls for her daughter.
Her six gouaches (opaque watercolors) illustrating chapters in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," and her fairy tale and nursery rhyme series, all from the 1940s, are considered her best work.
Fitzgerald used explosive color and dramatic compositions to illustrate the complexity of double meanings, satire, morals, and absurdities found in the literary texts. Because much of her art was done during concentrated periods while she was in and out of mental institutions, there is no complete record of her works. Some were lost and others were destroyed in the 1948 fire that took Fitzgerald's life at a Highland, N.C. mental hospital.
A catalogue illustrating works in the exhibition will be available. It features an introduction by Heidi Kunz Bullock, F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar and R-MWC faculty member, and an essay by Ellen Schall Agnew, Interin Director, Maier Museum of Art.
Above: The Lobster Quadrille by Arlyn Firkins Bruccoli '55.
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