Fabulously Queer

Here is the cover of “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh (1928 – 1974), who studied at The League in 1951 with instructors Harry Sternberg, Frank Reilly, and Robert Ward Johnson.⁠

Since its publication in 1964 by Harper and Row, “Harriet the Spy” has never been out of print and has inspired multiple adaptations and spin-offs, including a 1996 feature film, a live-action television series and an upcoming Apple TV+ animated series produced by the Jim Henson Company.⁠

“It’s important to note that Louise always considered herself a painter first,” writes Fitzhugh biographer, Leslie Brody. “Once she arrived in New York, she was determined to paint and to study painting. She went her own way during the abstract expressionist and pop art years, mostly painting portraits and then landscapes…She worked in various media, including oils and watercolors during her last years, and she did many satirical drawings, lampooning American archetypes such as cowboys and pioneers.”⁠

Brody’s book “Sometimes You Have to Lie” explores Fitzhugh’s childhood, her many loving relationships with women and her devotion to painting.⁠

Of the book, Kathi Wolfe of Washington Blade writes, “As it so often is with LGBTQ artists and writers (even creators of classics), I had no idea that Louise Fitzhugh was queer. Fitzhugh wasn’t just a lesbian. She was fabulously queer!”⁠

Louise Fitzhugh and her friend the photographer Gina Jackson, around 1952. Leslie Brody’s expansive and revealing new biography of Fitzhugh, “Sometimes You Have to Lie,” assembles the clues to the personal history that shaped her conscience and creative convictions. Credit…Lilyan Chauvin

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