First published in 1977, and now available for a younger generation with a new introduction by the author, Living Well Is the Best Revenge is Calvin Tomkins’s now-classic account of the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, two American expatriates who formed an extraordinary circle of friends in France during the 1920s. First in Paris and then in the seaside town of Antibes, they played host to some of the most memorable artists and writers of the era, including Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Legér, Ernest Hemingway, and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Gerald Murphy was himself an accomplished painter, though he practiced for only eight years, from 1922 to 1929. Responding to the paintings he saw in Paris with an American sensibility, he produced fifteen works, seven of which survive and one of which is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Illustrated with nearly seventy photographs from the Murphy family album and featuring a special section on Gerald Murphy’s paintings, Living Well Is the Best Revenge is a Lost Generation chronicle as charming and fascinating as the couple themselves.