Cathy Curtis is the author of four biographies: A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick (W. W. Norton, 2021); Alive Still: Nell Blaine, American Painter (Oxford University Press, 2019); A Generous Vision: The Creative Life of Elaine de Kooning (Oxford University Press, 2017); and Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Oxford University Press, 2015). Curtis's new biography, forthcoming from W. W. Norton, is Edna O'Brien: The Passionate Life of a Fearless Irish Writer.
A former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, she majored in philosophy at Smith College and has a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Curtis is a past president of Biographers International Organization (BIO).
A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick
The first biography of the celebrated novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic Elizabeth Hardwick (1916–2007) illuminates her eventful life, which included a long, turbulent marriage to the poet Robert Lowell.
Alive Still: Nell Blaine, American Painter2019
A Generous Vision: The Creative Life of Elaine de Kooning2017
Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter2015
Awards and Recognition
- Restless Ambition was long-listed for the 2016 Plutarch Award for biography
Press and Media Mentions
- Boston Globe,"JFK Portrait Explained in New Elaine de Kooning Biography," January 30, 2018
- The New York Times Book Review, "The Shortlist/The Lives of Artists" (A Generous Vision), January 14, 2018
- The Wall Street Journal: Review: 'A Generous Vision,' January 6, 2017
- London Review of Books, Jenni Quilter, "The Real Thing," (review of Restless Ambition), April 21, 2016, p. 29.
- Sag Harbor Express, Helen A. Harrison, "Grace Under Pressure: An Artist's Life," June 25, 2015
- Baltimore Magazine (review of Restless Ambition and Q&A), June 2015
- The Wall Street Journal: Books: "A Studio of Her Own," May 23-24, 2015
- Washington Post Book World review: "An Artist's Talent, A Fighter's Spirit," April 12, 2015
- Woman's Art Journal (review of Restless Ambition), Fall/Winter 2015
- Booklist, starred review (Restless Ambition), February 2015
- WYPR interview (Restless Ambitio)
- The Key Reporter, Svetlana Alpers, "Life of the Mind" (Restless Ambition review), April 10, 2015