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Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

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Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

American, (1900–1948)

"Zelda Sayre (1940-1948) was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Upon meeting F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918. They became known as the century's most famous literary couple. Overshadowed by her husband's success during her lifetime, Fitzgerald's literary works, paintings and drawings have since earned the recognition they deserve.
In 1924, Zelda, F. Scott, and Scottie, their daughter, set sail for Europe. During this two year trip, Fitzgerald took her first painting lessons, as well as becoming very involved in her formal study of ballet. Returning to the United States in 1926, she added to her accomplishments a collection of stories for College Humor that she co-authored with Scott. It was on their second trip to Europe in 1930 that Fitzgerald was hospitalized for nervous exhaustion, supposedly due to her continued intensive ballet training. Later in the same year, she was diagnosed as schizophrenic, at which time she permanently retired from ballet. She was discharged from the hospital in Switzerland and the Fitzgerald's returned to Alabama.
Her release from a hospital in Baltimore after her second breakdown came only months before her novel Save Me the Waltz was published. The use of materials by Fitzgerald for the novel were much of the same ones being used by F. Scott for his work in progress, Tender is the Night. This caused problems between the two, but was quickly overcome when the duo worked in conjunction on Ftizgerald's play Scandalabra. This was the last of her published literary endeavors and the beginning of her last artistic pursuit that would continue until her death in 1948.
In 1933, Fitzgerald entered the Independent Artist's Exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Less than a year later she was again hospitalized near Baltimore. Later that same year she had an exhibition of thirteen paintings and fifteen drawings at Cary Ross Gallery in Manhattan. In 1935, the family came to Asheville and over the next thirteen years would commute from various spots around the country back to the mountains. Scott spent a great deal of time at the Grove Park Inn for his tuberculosis and in order to be near Fitzgerald, who was between bouts of home care in Alabama and hospitalization at Highland Hospital in Asheville. After the death of F. Scott, Fitzgerald, unable to attend the funeral, continued with her works.
The majority of her works have been lost in one manner or another. In 1942, Fitzgerald donated paintings to the artists of the WPA in order for their artists to reuse the canvases. These donated paintings were never seen again. A large number of her works accompanied her to Highland Hospital where she was readmitted in 1946. Many of these works were destroyed on March 10, 1948 in the same fire that consumed Highland Hospital and several patients, including Fitzgerald. Upon her death, the studio at her family's home in Alabama was cleaned out. A lawn sale was held which included a three-foot stack of oil paintings done by Fitzgerald. An art dealer by the name of Louise Brooks tried to purchase these from the family and was told the three foot stack of oil paintings were not for sale. The rest of Fitzgerald's works were then burned on her sister's order. Through the collective efforts of her daughter and grandchildren, her surviving works have been collected in order that the rest of the world may see them. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama." [Source: unknown and currently being researched]

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