Gari Melchers Home and Studio To Host

Gari Melchers Home and Studio will host Deborah Davis, author of “Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X” at a lecture, book signing and dinner on Saturday, March 15
at 6 p.m.  

Davis will discuss John Singer Sargent’s most famous painting of 23-year-old New Orleans Creole Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the “it girl” of her day. Unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon, Sargent’s portrait of the striking Gautreau generated the attention she craved, but sadly led to infamy instead of stardom. Sargent, a contemporary of Gari Melchers, was able to weather the scandal, and his career only grew.  

Davis, also the author of “The Secret Lives of Frames” and “Party of the Century,” is a writer and veteran film executive. She has been a story editor and analyst for Warner Bros. Studios, Columbia-TriStar, Walt Disney Studios, Miramax Films and William Morris Agency.

A book signing and dinner will follow the talk. Copies of “Strapless” and other titles by the Davis will be available for purchase at a 25 percent discount. Tickets are $75 per person, $60 for members of Friends of Belmont. Deadline for reservations is March 11, 2008. For more information, visit To make a reservation, contact Roxana Varga at (540) 654-1307 or e-mail her at

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 26-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Va., a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.