Monday, July 10, 2017

The Velveteen Daughter

Velveteen Daughter by Laura Davis Huber

      History may always remember Margery Williams as the author of The Velveteen Rabbit but who of us knows of her daughter, Pamela Bianco?  It was Pamela whose fame came first as a small child of eleven years when Pablo Picasso first sees a piece Pamela drew when she was just four.  It was from this day in her life, the day she met Picasso, that her life was no longer her own.  It wasn’t because Picasso took over Pamela’s life, it was her father who exploited his daughter’s rare genius.  Pamela’s father saw his chance to capitalize on Pamela’s talent.  Exhibitions were planned and when her works sold out more were planned.  And more and more.
     It was true that she couldn’t stop drawing and painting, the passion had taken hold of her when she was four years old, but her father exploited her talent to earn a living for the family.  She suffered from deep depression as she continued to try to please her father.  She could never say no to him.  At thirteen she fell in love and this love becomes an obsession that followed her always.  When she finally does marry it is the most unusual and damaging thing that can happen to her.
Throughout her life, her mother and brother are there as stabilizers but it takes a lot to stabilize Pamela’s life and the toll is felt by everyone.  
     We are a part of the early 20th century art world in both New York and Europe.  We meet Eugene O’Neill, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, for awhile a supporter and sponsor of Pamela and   the love of Pamela’s life, Richard (Diccon) Hughes.
     Pamela’s father, her talent, her depression, her obsessive love, her marriage, Pamela is a damaged soul.  This is a sad and truly amazing story of someone lost to our knowledge of cultural history. And if for no other reason this should be enough to read this book. 

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