Literary Folk Figure, Model. A wealthy society lady, she is remembered as a central member of the Parisian expatriate community during the 1920s and 1930s and as muse to a number of artistic figures. Raised in Cincinnati as a child of wealth and privilege, she spent time in Germany and later moved with her family to New York's fashionable East Hampton. As a teenager, she met the five-year-younger Gerald Murphy and formed a friendship that eventually resulted in marriage, a union which was viewed with profound displeasure by both families. The couple lived in New York and, though it was common knowledge in high society that Gerald did not always prefer girls, had two sons and a daughter. They moved to Paris in 1921, named their palatial home which was located in Antibes on the French Riviera "Villa America", and became part of the artistic circle that included Ernest Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and others, with Gerald himself a painter of some note. Sara helped introduce sunbathing as a form of recreation to Europe and posed for Picasso about half a dozen times; the pair was the inspiration for Dick and Nicole Diver in Fitzgerald's 1934 "Tender is the Night", a book which Sara disliked but which did not turn her against the author, and were at least a part of the unconventional couple involved in a menage-a-trois in Hemingway's often revised and posthumously published "The Garden of Eden". The Murphys returned to New York in 1934 so that Gerald could run his business. In 1935, at a point when their son Patrick (deceased 1937) was terminally ill with tuberculosis, Sara and Gerald suddenly lost their other son Baoth to meningitis which occurred as a complication of measles; her period of grief may well be the time at which Sara had a sexual affair with Ernest Hemingway, though any evidence of such an encounter was well-hidden. The couple remained part of the New York social circle and major supporters of the arts until Gerald's 1964 death, a loss which eventually led Sara to move into her daughter Honoria's Northern Virginia home. The Murphys' story is told in Calvin Tompkins' 1971 "Living Well is the Best Revenge", in the 1995 "Everybody Was So Young" by Amanda Vaill, and in Honoria's 1982 memoir "Sara & Gerald: Villa America and After"; their private papers are preserved at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Bio by: Bob Hufford
"...and She made all of light" Campion
Gerald Cleary Murphy