Francine du Plessix Gray

USA flag (1930 - 2019)

Francine du Plessix Gray was a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and literary critic. She was born in Warsaw, Poland, where her father, Vicomte Bertrand Jochaud du Plessix, was a French diplomat - the commercial attaché. She spent her early years in Paris, where a milieu of mixed cultures and a multilingual family (French father and Russian émigré mother) influenced her.

Widowed when her father died in battle, in 1940 du Plessix Gray's mother escaped France to New York with Francine. In 1942, her mother married Alexander Liberman, another White émigré from Russia, whom she had known in Paris as a child. He was a noted artist and later longtime editorial director of Vogue Magazine and then of Condé Nast Publications. The Libermans were socially prominent in media, art, and fashion circles.

Francine du Plessix Gray then grew up in New York City, and was naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1952. She was a scholarship student at Spence School. She attended Bryn Mawr College for two years, and in 1952 received her B.A. in philosophy from Barnard College, NY.

In 1957 she married painter Cleve Gray (1918-2004) with whom she had two sons.

Du Plessix Gray had a long and varied career, in the 1950s as reporter for several French magazines; book editor for Art in America New York City; staff writer for The New Yorker; several professorships, including at Columbia University.