Clever Fresno Girl: The Travel Writings of Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1908-1915)

Clever Fresno Girl: The Travel Writings of Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1908-1915)

Clever Fresno Girl: The Travel Writings of Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1908-1915)

Clever Fresno Girl: The Travel Writings of Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1908-1915)

Synopsis

This volume features 30 art-related travel articles by the American modern artist, Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1887-1968). The accompanying essay examines her life in Paris, the people she met, and the art she was exposed to.

Excerpt

Efram L. Burk

The thirty articles selected here, which are written from 1908 to 1915 by the American Modernist Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1887–1968), are reprinted for the first time since they originally appeared in her hometown newspaper, the Fresno Morning Republican. the period roughly coincides with the time during which she studied art in Paris, primarily at the Académie de la Palette, and extensively traveled abroad. Writing was then a serious pursuit for the California native; she published 139 articles that averaged nearly 3-½ single-spaced pages. Each dispatch is poignant, containing her unique (often opinionated and humorous observations expressed in a wellcrafted style that exudes her sophistication on whatever topic she addressed. Generally, they provided commentary on the city of Paris (where she lived from 1908 to 1911) or on the places she visited during her peregrinations. For instance, she stopped at the traditional sites one would associate with the European Grand Tour: Paris, London, Madrid, Toledo, Brussels, Bruges, Strasbourg, Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome—excursions that were made possible, in no small part, by the money she received from her articles. What makes Thompson’s tour so interesting, however, is that her trip did not end with these locations. From 1911 to 1912, she embarked on a whirlwind voyage with her aunt, Harriet Adelaide Harris, to Palestine, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, and Hawaii before ending up in Fresno, California, in the summer of 1912. Articles have been selected in terms of their historical significance or the historic figures they address, such as Thompson’s review of an Isadora Duncan performance in Paris in 1908 (“Grand Opéra as Seen in Paris”); the excitement Thompson felt during her time in India, which overlapped with the visit of King George V and Queen Mary of England in 1911 (“When the Queen Comes to Jaipur”); and Thompson’s description of a wild artist ball in New York City in 1914 that included, among other notables, Marsden Hartley (“The Pagan Revel”). Since she later distinguished herself as an artist, the rest of these articles have been chosen because they are primarily art-related and to create a context for . . .

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