elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Margarett Sargent & Shawn McKean

Margarett Sargent (August 31, 1892 - 1978) was born in 1892 into the privileged world of old Boston money (she was a distant relative of John Singer Sargent) and a life of rigid convention from which few (especially women) broke free. Art provided her ticket out of this claustral milieu. After breaking an engagement, she began her training in Italy as a sculptor (''If only we hadn't sent her to Europe,'' her family would say whenever she did something un-Bostonian, which was fairly often), and later turned to watercolors and oils. She had her first one-woman show in New York in 1926, quickly followed by others in Chicago and Boston. But just as she was establishing her reputation, she stopped exhibiting, and soon stopped painting altogether.

Margarett, 5 foot 10, raven-haired, ivory-skinned, blue-eyed, becomes a socialite, a student of Mount Rushmore's Gutzon Borglum and painter George Luks, a member of the artistic avant garde of New York and Boston, and, within conventions -- she's a virgin -- a seductress of note. She also may be having an affair with her New York roommate, Marjorie Davenport.

Her personal life was more shocking than her paintings, which reflected an expressionism not much in vogue at the time. She waited until 1920, and the age of 28, to marry another proper Bostonian, Quincy Adams Shaw McKean (November 1, 1891 – August 1971) , a polo-playing, dog-breeding Boston aristocrat and owner of a remarkable estate called Prides, who promises her a career but doesn't know what he's bargained for. They had four children in the next three years. The marriage had its problems (ironically, not conflicts over her career -- her husband accepted her artistic aspirations), and Margarett ''took to affairs,'' an old friend noted, ''as easily as to brushing her teeth.'' These affairs included both men and women, and many took place on Boston's North Shore at Prides, the McKean home, a 17th-century saltbox transformed into a Yankee palazzo so grand it required a staff of 13.

Sargent, Margarett W., Beyond Good and Evil (Self-Portrait), ca. 1930, Gift of Honor Moore, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College
Margarett Sargent was born into the privileged world of old Boston money; a socialite, a student of Mount Rushmore's Gutzon Borglum and painter George Luks, a member of the artistic avant-garde of New York and Boston. She also may be having an affair with her New York roommate, Marjorie Davenport. She married Quincy Adams Shaw McKean, a polo-playing, dog-breeding Boston aristocrat and owner of an estate called Prides. They had four children in the next 3 years.

The happy years fade quickly, however. Shaw and Margarett fall apart but stay together, sniping and shouting or coldly ignoring each other. Both embark on many affairs, with Margarett's more flagrant, shocking and undiscriminating as to gender.

After the end of her painting career, Sargent becomes an obsessive gardener, an alcoholic and, finally, a frequent patient in sanitariums, where electroshock therapy shuts the final door on art. And eventually, Shaw divorces her.

Source: www.nytimes.com/books/97/07/27/nnp/19414.html

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: art, days of love

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