la jolla bird women
Ted Geisel fell in love with La Jolla on his first visit in 1928. Twenty years later, he began looking for a permanent California home—a place where the climate would allow him “to walk around outside in my pajamas.” In a one-day search, Ted purchased La Jolla’s Tower, a rundown observation structure atop Mount Soledad, which had become a lover’s-lane destination, its walls carved with the initials of hundreds of couples. Ted built his permanent home around the Tower, making it his studio.
Becoming enmeshed in the social comings and goings of La Jolla gave Ted a lush playground for concocting not only elaborate gags on his stylish neighbors but also for teasing them artistically. As one of the few men in town who worked from home, Ted lightheartedly considered himself a “bird watcher on the social scene,” always looking to create gentle spoofs of his chic female friends taken up in their whirl of luncheons, parties, and charity balls.
The result was the La Jolla Birdwomen series, a spicy collection of eleven known paintings with lyrical titles, works that could have sprung only from the mind of a genial witness—My Petunia Can Lick Your Geranium, Not Speaking, Martini Bird, Gosh! Do I Look as Old as All That!, View from a Window of a Rented Beach Cottage, and Oh I’d love to go to the party but I’m absolutely dead.