A Bohemian Life M Evelyn McCormick (1862-1948) American Impressionist is a fascinating blend of biography, early California social history and the story of the emergence of California Impressionist painting. The book offers an intriguing account of Evelyn McCormick's life and times in San Francisco, Monterey and Paris in a beautiful art book format. Evelyn was an unusually independent young woman who followed her lover to Paris and Monet's Giverny in 1889. Painting was her passion and she chose to pursue her talent over the traditional roles expected of a woman. Her exuberant spirit and lively personality make an absorbing and often surprising tale about the art world around the turn of the century in America and Paris.
Nelda Hirsh lives in New York City and Boulder Colorado with her husband. After a career in human resources she turned to what she loves to do-historical research and writing. Choosing subjects of special interest to her she has written two historical novels and a non-fiction art history/biography book about a woman artist in California around the turn of the last century. The books are meticulously researched and vividly bring to life important figures in American and French history.
"Weaving together material from secondary sources, novelist Hirsh (Julia du Val) assembles an absorbing portrait of Evelyn McCormick a now-obscure West Coast artist much acclaimed in the early 20th century. A contemporary of Claude Monet and Childe Hassam McCormick was the first female American artist to be welcomed by the Salon in Paris. After a sojourn to Giverny in 1890 she returned to her native California where she began a long association with the San Francisco Art Association. By 1893 her work was exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair alongside East Coast male luminaries John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. She hobnobbed with Bernhardt and Steinbeck ultimately settling in Monterey, a town that she memorialized in many paintings. A free spirit who never married she bore two children: a son Haviland McCormick Jones (1892-1953) who was raised by her sister Margaret Jane and a daughter Elizabeth Stoddard (1895-1990) whom she put up for adoption. Hirsh doesn't skimp on details of McCormick's private life identifying artist Guy Rose as Haviland's father and offering a list of suspects as to the paternity of Elizabeth. With her work on display in museums along the West Coast McCormick's story bears retelling. 50 color illustrations." - Publisher's Weekly
"A valuable contribution to the history of American art in California and to the concurrent story of women artists in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century." -Kevin Starr author of Americans and the California Dream Series
". . . like a tree branching out Nelda Hirsh's book springs from her loving and thoughtful portrait of the irrepressible Evelyn McCormick into the lives and worlds of many other artists and colorful figures of an intriguing time -- people like McCormick who deserve to be remembered." -Steve Hauk, Hauk Fine Arts
"The book is magnificent." - William H. Gerdts, Professor Emeritus of Art History City University of New York
"Nelda Hirsh has revealed a thoughtfully sensitive narrative while inviting further research and discovery of this significant early California artist and the times in which she lived. We congratulate the author in her effort to provide fresh expose in this historically based interpretation of Evelyn McCormick's independent spirit and for illustrating her wonderfully rich artistic legacy.''-Terry and Paula Trotter, Trotter Galleries
YouTube video of an interview with Nelda Hirsh about A Bohemian Life.