L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Comte Étienne de Beaumont, by Baron de Meyer, circa 1910
Étienne de Beaumont, comte Bonnin de la Bonninière de Beaumont (9 March 1883, Paris - 4 February 1956, Paris), French aristocrat and life-long patron of the arts. A leading figure in Parisian high society from before the First World War until after the Second - and especially active during the Twenties - with his wife, née Édith de Taisne (1876-1952), he was famous for his elaborate and flamboyant parties and masquerade balls; he commissioned many of the leading avant-garde artists of the day to create the extravagant décor for these events, and designed many of the often outrageous
masquerade costumes himself.
He was friend and generous patron to many of the most
celebrated artists, writers, composers, and filmmakers of the inter-war
period, including Cocteau, Picasso, Braque, Satie, Tzara, and
Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In 1924, for Léonide Massine - temporarily
broken with Diaghilev - the comte, himself, designed the ballet, Le Beau Danube. That same year, the writer Raymond Radiguet based the main character in his brilliant novel, Le Bal du Comte d’Orgel,
on Beaumont - not entirely flatteringly - and the comte's home, the beautifully appointed hôtel de
Masseran in Paris' seventh arrondissement, inspired the book's setting.
Stephen O'Donnell, painter and singer/performer. A mid-career fine artist, I have been showing professionally since 1995. Married to author and graphic designer Gigi Little, with whom I occasionally perform a mother and daughter singing act, Madeleine and Penny Prévert.