Readers of historical fiction and nonfiction works alike will not want to miss out on book one of the new trilogy An Affair with Beauty - The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy: The Magic of Youth. With the help of the late Christy’s wife, Nancy, a former Cosmopolitan model, author James Phillip Head shares intimate details of his illustrious artistic career and intriguing life. This captivating novel begins with exploring how Howard Chandler Christy achieved the American Dream and attained fame, most notably for his creation of the “Christy Girl” and his diverse depictions of United States history through artworks. As the novel carries on, a closer look is taken into the exclusive inside world of Howard Chandler Christy that proves just as scandalous as it is glamorous. Throughout the various scandals, Christy never lost his natural eye for beauty and continued to use it to guide him artistically and fill him with a zest for life unmatched by any artist since. The Magic of Youth, book one in the An Affair with Beauty – The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy trilogy, recounts the early years of Christy’s epic life, and emphasizes the role he played in capturing the pulse of American society through art, while fashioning a clear image of feminine beauty during the Jazz Age. While youth may not last forever, Howard Chandler Christy’s timeless influence on American culture indelibly remains.
Head’s glowing and revelatory biographical novel chronicles the life of Howard Chandler Christy, a talented painter of celebrities, dignitaries, and beautiful women, whose models were known as Christy Girls. Born in an Ohio log cabin in 1872, Christy’s talent was apparent from a very young age; at 18 he went to New York to study at the Art Students League, where he was singled out as “brilliant” by his teachers. Christy was a magazine illustrator in his early 20s, followed by a stint as a sketch artist in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Back in New York, Christy became a well-paid illustrator, then shot to fame with his Christy Girl portraits and large-scale historical murals. His famous painting of the signing of the Constitution hangs in the U.S. Capitol. Christy’s second wife, Nancy, was his model and muse until his death in 1952; the narrative is mostly from her perspective and from reminiscences or writings ascribed to her. Abundant anecdotes provide insight into Christy’s personality, life with Nancy, and philosophical musings. Head emphasizes that Christy’s lifelong obsession with beautiful women, the “romanticized, statuesque goddess,” was as much about inner beauty as physical perfection. (BookLife)