Sisters in Art - coming soon!

Just one week to go!  Sisters in Art will debut in bookstores on October 26.  If you pre-ordered the book, you should receive it soon!  If you haven't pre-ordered, please consider purchasing the book at River House Books, where I will be giving a reading and book signing at 1 pm on Sunday, November 7.  I think you will enjoy holding this beautifully illustrated book (with nearly 120 color and B&W images!) in your hands. 

Sisters in Art just received a great review in Library Journal (see below).

It's been quite a journey that began four years ago when I first started researching the Brutons, but it's thrilling that the fascinating lives and careers of these talented women artists will finally see the light!  

Good, Wendy Van Wyck. Sisters in Art: The Biography of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton. West Margin. Oct. 2021. 232p. ISBN 9781513289519. $29.99. FINE ARTS

This sweeping biography profiles three forgotten artistic virtuosi—the daughters of a wealthy San Francisco tobacco executive—who achieved distinction with paintings, terrazzo mosaics, and murals designed for steamship salons, prestigious hotels, and public buildings. Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton (alumnae of New York’s Art Students League and Parsons School of Design) combined collaborative fame with individual achievement, culminating in a preposterously massive 8,000-square-foot mural (now lost) that dominated the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. The Brutons were leading figures in artists’ colonies in Carmel, Taos, and Ojai and hobnobbed with the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, and Imogen Cunningham. Archivist Good (editor of a blog about the Bruton sisters) makes the case that the Brutons are as interesting for their involvement in historic American artist communities as they are for their art, much of which epitomizes mid-century modern style. (Helen even designed tiles for Gladding-McBean.) Great stories abound in this book, including the goings-on of the “Monterey Group” of painters and an encounter with a teetotaling Henri Matisse at a North Beach cocktail party. If California had a Belle Époque, this was it. VERDICT From their chubby-cheeked “Gibson Girl” childhood through their sunlit dotage, the Brutons were exemplars of many aspects of California history and, in recent years, overlooked. Good’s book corrects this.

—Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA


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