Fitzgerald Museum Dedicates Zelda Gallery
See Alabama flapper Zelda Fitzgerald’s artwork on permanent display in Montgomery for the first time.
At noon on July 24, the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum of Montgomery, Alabama, hosted a dedication of its new “Zelda Gallery,” which is now the first and only permanent gallery in the world completely dedicated to Zelda’s artwork. The occasion was the museum’s annual birthday party for Zelda, with the date marking what would have been Zelda’s 114th birthday.
The daughter of Alabama Supreme Court Justice and Montgomery native Anthony Dickinson Sayre, Zelda married the noted author F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1920 and began painting shortly after. She continued painting until her untimely death in 1948. Although it has been estimated by scholars that she painted hundreds of paintings, many of them were lost or destroyed. Today, just over a hundred of Zelda’s paintings remain in circulation.
The museum boasts a collection of 11 originals by Zelda, and, thanks to Shawn Sudia-Skeehan of Atlanta, has substantially increased its collection with the addition of surrogate giclèes authorized by the Fitzgerald Estate. Further, Mr. Charles Booth of Birmingham — upon hearing of the gallery dedication – loaned his family’s prized Zelda gouache, “Rhododendrons,” to the museum for the remainder of the summer. Eleanor Lanahan, the Fitzgerald’s eldest granddaughter, called it a “trademark” work.
The gallery itself, which was dedicated to Sudia-Skeehan in honor of her tireless and selfless support of the project, is located in the two back rooms of the museum. Before the dedication commenced, visitors were treated to light snacks, ice cream and large pieces of Zelda’s birthday cake; this year, it was strawberry with cream cheese icing. Bright red roses, one of Zelda’s favorite flowers to paint, decorated the top. Jazz music taken directly from Zelda’s record collection provided the entertainment.
After a short introduction and welcome by the Museum Director Willie Thompson (pictured left), Sudia-Skeehan (center) accepted the plaque from museum founder Julian McPhillips that will hang in the gallery and took her post as the museum’s new director of development. She spoke about re-reading “The Great Gatsby” as a grown woman and referred to Scott and Zelda’s story as “human.” “They were just two people,” she said.
Photos courtesy of the Fitzgerald Museum.