We’d like to introduce you to our new Librarian, Elizabeth Bradshaw, and pass along one of her recommended reading suggestions. Please visit Crystal Bridges’ Library when you are here, and introduce yourself to her, as well! All our library staff members and volunteers are eager to help guests find whatever interests you among our library holdings.
Elizabeth Bradshaw, Cataloger/Archives Librarian I grew up in a small town in east Texas near Shreveport, Louisiana. It was a small, close-knit community where everyone knew each other. My family used to own a dairy and cattle farm for many years, but now we just raise Red Angus and it is mostly a hobby for my father who is retired. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas in Political Science, with minors in Literature and Italian Language. My graduate degree is also from UNT as I earned a Master of Science in Library Science (M.S.L.S.) in Archival Studies and Digital Image Management. I was the Associate Reference Library in Instruction & Information Services for four years at a university library in Texas before coming to Crystal Bridges at the end of August. I have always enjoyed visiting museums, their permanent and traveling exhibitions, because I have an interest in art and life-long learning. The Twentieth-Century Art Gallery is my favorite at Crystal Bridges because the materials used are so much more varietal than the periods of art before—I love Nick Cave and his Soundsuits, and sculpture is a fascinating medium as well. I was particularly interested in Crystal Bridges because it was a new museum; they were looking for someone to organize and lead museum efforts to initiate and carry out their archival program—not only paper-based but using digital technologies—and for anyone working in archives, this was a dream opportunity.
I recently read Strapless this past summer and thought it was very intriguing. Not only did I find the story of the painting and its subsequent scandal captivating, but I became a admirer of John Singer Sargent as well. Understanding a work of art and its historical background—the life of the subject and its artist—transcends the piece from merely paint on canvas, to something more three-dimensional and profound. About the Book: The subject of John Singer Sargent’s most famous painting was twenty-three-year-old New Orleans Creole Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the “it girl” of her day. A relative unknown at the time, Sargent won the commission to paint her; the two must have recognized in each other a like-minded hunger for fame. Unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon, Gautreau’s portrait generated the attention she craved-but it led to infamy rather than stardom. Sargent had painted one strap of Gautreau’s dress dangling from her shoulder, suggesting either the prelude to or the aftermath of sex. Her reputation irreparably damaged, Gautreau retired from public life, destroying all the mirrors in her home. Drawing on documents from private collections and other previously unexamined materials, and featuring a cast of characters including Oscar Wilde and Richard Wagner, Strapless is a tale of art and celebrity, obsession and betrayal.