You may remember this post (one of my favorites) from a while back about the book Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati by Ryersson & Yaccarino. Well, now there's a follow-up book about the fabulous and wildly opulent Marchesa by the same authors, but this time it's a gorgeous full-color coffee-table book celebrating her life as an artistic muse. The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse is a must for any lover of fashion or art history, or anyone intrigued by one of the great artistic personas of the 20th century.
Last Saturday, after helping our dear Catie of Cuffington move house, Kim of J'Adore Couture and I moseyed over to Sue Fisher King on Sacramento Street to peruse the sale going on. Right dead-center on the sale table was this book and I knew..."I knew the way you know about a good melon." Of course it had to be mine - and now that it is, I cannot stop flipping through it! (And, the best part is, it was on sale!)
All of the missing pieces mentioned but not shown in the first biography are now filled in and richly supported. More than the major portraits by John, Boldini, and Man Ray, this tome gathers so many more portraits by little-known or amateur artists. They even tracked down the elusive portrait from the great Romaine Brooks, which is far more mysterious, avant-garde, and sensual than expected. Brooks had kept this portrait rolled up under her bed, where it was found upon her death at the age of 96 and then sold into a private collection.
Portrait of Luisa Casati by Romaine Brooks, 1920
Ryersson & Yaccarino stretch even further than the first book, talking about the Marchesa's ongoing influence on fashion and culture. (Did you know that the Marchesa brand from Georgina Chapman & Karen Craig was named for La Casati? I did not, but it makes perfect sense.)
Finally, the Marchesa Casati's hope of becoming "a living work of art" is celebrated in one volume! If you're a fan like me, you must treat yourself - you won't be sorry!