I will have the privilege of attending an exhibit of Zelda Fitzgerald’s paintings at the Johns Hopkins Evergreen Museum this weekend. I have always been puzzled by how unpopular Ms. Fitzgerald’s artwork is. Her mother famously burned most of her work because she found it hideous, and Dorothy Parker was said to have been unable to hang the two paintings she bought. I know nothing about art, but I love Zelda Fitzgerald’s paintings. I find them uncomfortable, but very beautiful.
I have read every word written by and about Zelda Fitzgerald, and I find that the more I read, the less I have to say. It seems pointless and disrespectful to blame her for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s demise, or to blame him for hers. Mental illness is brutal and exhausting for everyone involved. There is nothing more terrifying than having to fight off your own mind. To go to sleep every night not knowing whether you will wake up as yourself or as the hateful, vicious creature that hurts the people you love. Most of us would be crippled by such a painful, thankless struggle. Zelda Fitzgerald was not. She did her best to be a good wife and mother. She wrote a novel in six weeks while in a Baltimore psychiatric ward. And she spent years on the stunning paintings that I will be seeing this week. She was exceptionally brave.
I was thinking of wearing Guerlain Après L’Ondee or L’Heure Bleue to the exhibit. They both have a poignant quality to them, but more importantly, they were both released at the beginning of the 20th century. As the Fitzgeralds spent many years in Paris, Zelda would most likely have been familiar with these fragrances. I thought it would be a nice gesture. Do you have any suggestions for a perfume to wear to the exhibit, or for perfumes that go well with art in general?