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

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, October 31, 2013

Mystery couple

I know nothing about this image - a friend shared it on my Facebook page - but I would love to know the story behind this photograph and this most unusual pair.

And do I really need to explain why I adore this...?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Extreme Brows" - Elvira Popescu edition

Elvira Popescu (May 10, 1894, Bucharest – December 11, 1993, Paris), was a Romanian-born French stage and film actress and theatre director.  Her name Gallicised to Elvire Popesco, during her long career she was considered the queen of "Le Théâtre de Boulevard" (popular light comedy), where she epitomized the cheerful and charming thick-accented foreigner.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bill Melby, professional wrestler and physique model

Unknown photographers, circa early 1950s.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ida Rubinstein as muse

Ida Lvovna Rubinstein (October 5, 1885, Kharkiv, Ukraine – September 20, 1960, Vence, France): dancer, actress, patroness, impresario, heiress and celebrity.  Best remembered today for her early affiliation with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.

By Antonio de La Gándara, 1913
By Valentin Serov, 1910
By Léon Bakst, circa 1910
By Jacques-Émile Blanche, circa 1910, in the role of Zobéide in Scheherazade
By Romaine Brooks, 1917

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A few words by Nicholas about a favorite activity

On Sleep

Sleeping is good.  To sleep heavy, to sleep light.  When it's bright or when it's dark.  But it's always dark underneath, curled up in the quiet and the warm.  It's always good to jump up there, to get on top and push at things, to find the way to get underneath.  And there in the dark, I yawn and scratch and move around to the best place.  And then I curl around myself and make myself warm and go to sleep.  I can sleep so long, it doesn't matter how long, and I don't need anything but the dark and the warm.

When the others are beside me, when it's dark and quiet, usually I curl up next to the small one.  Next to the large one, too, but not so often.  When it's dark and quiet, they move around, and then I have to move around, too, and find a nice place again.  Sometimes I crawl up from underneath, because it gets too warm, and I lie on top and sleep.  Sometimes I come up just a little, the rest underneath.  Sometimes I lie straight out, one of them behind me, and I stretch all the way out and touch the other, pushing against the other a little.  It feels nice to be with both of them, touching them.

When they are gone, both of them, and I don't know when they'll be back again, I stay underneath and sleep and sleep.  When I sleep heavy, sometimes I can't make myself wake up, until one of them comes and makes noises at me, wakes me up and pulls me out from underneath.  And I always stretch and yawn, I jump down and we go out.  But when I sleep light, sometimes I know they're coming soon, I think I hear things, and I come up from underneath.  And I listen.  I listen hard and I wait and wait.

Many times, the small one will pick me up and hold me, and I will curl up where the small one bends.  It's nice to sit there, but I can't really sleep like that.  And then the small one puts me down and I'll go and curl up in that little soft place that is mine, that smells like me.  But it's never really dark there and I can't ever sleep heavy there.

Sometimes I want the bright, though.  And when it's very bright, I go over and sit down in the brightest, warmest place.  I look right up into the bright and sniff at it.  I have to blink and squint at all that bright I like so much.   I lie down and pretend to sleep, there in the warm.  I can't really sleep, not with all that bright on me.  But I lie there because it's warm and it's very nice, until it's time to go and crawl back underneath and really sleep.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Greta Garbo, Camille, 1936 - "Gowns by Adrian"

With the ubiquitous - and always wonderful - Henry Daniell

Friday, October 25, 2013

Antinoüs Braschi, Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, the Vatican

Antinoüs (November 27, c. 111,  Bithynion-Claudiopolis – before October 30, 130, Egypt), beloved of the Roman emperor Hadrian and, after death, deified.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The marquise de Las Marismas - two portraits by Winterhalter

Painted by Winterhalter in 1857.

Claire-Émilie, marquise de Las Marismas, vicomtesse Aguado, née MacDonell. (October 24, 1817, Algiers - April 23, 1905, Paris).

When I first started composing this post, I could find nothing on this lovely woman other than her name and the dates of her birth and death.  And then, depending on where I read it, even the date of her death and the spelling of her maiden name varied.  As I struggled on, I began getting bits and pieces, mostly from French and Spanish sources, and much of it contradictory; I was made to resort to photographs of tomb inscriptions.  What started as a desire to have a little something with which to footnote two lovely paintings became a minor, but far too time-consuming, detective case.

Apparently, the future marquise de Las Marismas was born October 24, 1817 at Algiers, the eldest daughter of Hugh MacDonell, who was British consul-general there, and his second wife, daughter of Admiral Ulrich, the Danish consul-general. She married, ca. 1842, Alexandre (Manuel-Alexandre?  Jean-Manuel?  Alexandre-Jean-Manuel?) (August 6, 1813 - August 16, 1861, Paris), the eldest son of the wealthy Franco-Spanish Aguado family.  The couple had four children, the first son dying in childhood.  At some point her husband "lost his reason", as they used to say, and she tended to him until his early death.  Two years later, in 1863, by "special dispensation", she married his younger brother Onésipe-Gonsalve-Jean-Alexandre-Olympe, vicomte Aguado (August 9, 1830, Seine et Oise - May 19, 1893, Paris).  She died April 23, 1885 - or 1905 - or 1908, depending on who you believe; the inscription on her tomb would seem to say 1885 - having outlived a husband, daughter, and two sons.  (Or two husbands, a daughter, and all her sons, if either of the later dates is correct.)

(Update: Thanks to the excellent research done at the Père Lachaise cemetery by commenter "Veuillet Rebecca" - see below - we are now certain that the marquise actually died in 1905 at the age of eighty-seven. A good age, but how sad that she had to endure the deaths of all of her children first....)

What is certain is that she was a dame du palais to the Empress Eugénie - it seems the Aguado family were old friends of the empress' family, and likewise a supporter of the first Napoleon - and she was included in Winterhalter's famous 1855 portrait of the empress surrounded by her ladies.

While I have known of that vast canvas since childhood, the two oval portraits of the marquise, also by Winterhalter, are fairly recent acquaintances of mine.  She seems, especially in the one where she is in white, the quintessence of the soft, pale mid-nineteenth-century beauty, with her "English curls" and her dreamy eyes.

This portrait is exhibited at the chateau de Compiègne in the same
room as the group portrait of the Empress and her ladies.

Painted by Winterhalter in 1852 - I love the little loose strand of hair on the right.

 The marquise is shown, seated, on the right of the group portrait of 1855.


In 1860, the marquise's daughter, Carmen-Ida-Marie Aguado y MacDonell, born in 1847, was also painted by Winterhalter.  In 1866 she married Adalbert de Talleyrand-Perigord (1837-1915), and became duchesse de Montmorency.  She died in 1880 at the age of 33.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, 1914

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (June 13, 1882, Gatchina - November 24, 1960, Toronto), was the youngest child of Alexander III of Russia, and younger sister of Nicholas II.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Strange Beauty of Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904, Rózsahegy, Austria-Hungary (now Ružomberok, Slovakia) – March 23, 1964, Los Angeles),  born László Löwenstein.

Publicity for "Crime and Punishment", photographs by Lusha Nelson, 1935.

The sometimes very strange beauty of Peter Lorre.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Giovanni Boldini (December 31, 1842, Ferrara – July 11, 1931, Paris), Italian portrait painter.

Marthe, Princess Bibesco, 1911
Luisa, Marchesa Casati, 1908
Gladys Deacon, later Duchess of Marlborough, "circa 1905-08"
Countess Zichy, 1905 - I find this so very "drag queen"...!
Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough, and her son, Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, 1906
Luisa, Marchesa Casati, 1914