Photos of Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Evelina “Eva” Palmer-Sikelianos (1874 – 1952) was an American woman notable for her study and promotion of Classical Greek culture, weaving, theater, choral dance and music. Palmer’s life and artistic endeavors intersected with numerous noteworthy artists throughout her life.

She was both inspired by or inspired the likes of dancers Isadora Duncan and Ted Shawn, the French literary great Colette, the poet and author Natalie Barney and the actress Sarah Bernhardt.

She would go on to marry Angelos Sikelianos, a Greek poet and playwright. Together they organized a revival of the Delphic Festival in Delphi, Greece. Embodied in these festivals of art, music and theater she hoped to promote a balanced sense of enlightenment that would further the goals of peace and harmony in Greece and beyond.

 

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Eva Palmer-Sikelianos via

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Eva Palmer-Sikelianos via

 

Vintage Photos Featuring Fashion Muse Nancy Cunard (1896 –1965)

Nancy Cunard was a writer, heiress and political activist. She was born into the British upper class and devoted much of her life to fighting racism and fascism. In 1928 Cunard had become romantically involved with African-American jazz musician Henry Crowder. They lived in an apartment in Harlem together, which prompted outraged tabloid headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.

About this time she became seriously interested in African art and culture.

Her style became informed by her devotion to the artifacts of the same culture. This was startlingly unconventional at the time. The large-scale jewelry she favored, crafted of wood, bone and ivory, the natural materials used by native crafts people, was provocative and controversial. The trademark bangles she wore on both arms snaking from wrist to elbow were considered outré adornments, which provoked media attention, visually compelling subject matter for photographers of the day.

She was often photographed wearing her collection, those of African inspiration and neckpieces of wooden cubes, which paid homage to the concepts of Cubism. At first considered the bohemian affectation of an eccentric heiress, the fashion world came to legitimize this style as avant-garde, dubbing it the “barbaric look.”

Nancy Cunard 1926 by Man Ray via

Nancy Cunard by Cecil Beaton via

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Man Ray, Tristan Tzara kneeling to kiss Nancy Cunard’s hand, Bal du Comte de Beaumont, 1924 via

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Nancy Cunard via

Vintage Photos of Dandy, Muse and Celebrity Luisa Casati

Luisa Casati  (1881 – 1957) was an Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th-century Europe. A celebrity and femme fatale, the marchesa’s famous eccentricities dominated and delighted European society for nearly three decades. She dramatically altered her appearance to become a bewitchingly beautiful figure from some bizarre fairy tale. She wore live snakes as jewellery and was infamous for her evening strolls; naked beneath her furs whilst parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leads.  Nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her.  Bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table, some of them rumoured to contain the ashes of past lovers. Without question, the Marchesa was the most scandalous woman of her day.

She became a muse to Italian Futurists , captivated artists and literary figures and had numerous portraits painted and sculpted by various artists. She posed for photographs by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton and Baron Adolph de Meyer. Many of them she paid for, as a wish to “commission her own immortality”.  She is famous for saying “I want to be a living work of art”.

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Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by unknown photographer, (ca. 1903) via

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Luisa Casati” by Alberto Martini ca. 1906. Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati on one of her night strolls along the Grand Canal in Venice

Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by Adolf Demeyer, 1913

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Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by Man Ray, 1922

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Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by Cecil Beaton, 1954

Photos of the Amazing Artist Romaine Brooks

Romaine Brooks, born Beatrice Romaine Goddard (1874 – 1970), was an American painter specialized in portraiture who used a subdued palette dominated by the color gray.

She is best known for her images of women in androgynous or masculine dress, including her self-portrait of 1923, which is her most widely reproduced work. Her conservative style led many art critics to dismiss her, and by the 1960s her work was largely forgotten. The revival of figurative painting since the 1980s, and new interest in the exploration of gender and sexuality through art have led to a reassessment of her work. She is now seen as a precursor of present-day artists whose works depict cross-dressing and transgender themes.

In 1902 Brooks had inheritated a huge family fortune, which granted her independence. She studied in Rome, meeting an avant-garde group of artists, writers, and intellectuals with whom she associated in Capri, Paris, and the French Riviera. Her subjects ranged from anonymous models to titled aristocrats.

She often painted people close to her, such as the Italian writer and politician Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein, and her partner of more than 50 years, the writer Natalie Barney.

Although she lived until 1970, she painted very little after 1925. She made a series of line drawings during the early 1930s, using an “unpremeditated” technique resembling automatic drawing, then virtually abandoned art, completing only a single portrait after World War II.

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Romaine Brooks

Romaine Brooks by Man Ray, 1925 via

Natalie Clifford Barney and Romaine Brooks via

Romaine Brooks by Man Ray, 1925 via

Romaine Brooks by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

 

Vintage Photos feat. Daisy Fellowes

Daisy Fellowes, the Hon. Mrs. Reginald Fellowes (née Marguerite Séverine Philippine Decazes de Glücksberg, (1890-1962)), was a Singer Sewing Machine heiress who, gifted with both wealth and beauty, became a celebrated 20th-century society figure. Fellowes was one of the most daring fashion plates of the 20th century, arguably the most important patron of the surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and a friend of the jeweller Suzanne Belperron. Her fashion icon status made her the Paris Editor of American Harper’s Bazaar. 

She married twice. Her first husband either died of influenza or comitted suicide – as a result of his homosexuality having been exposed.

Her second husbond was the Hon. Reginald Ailwyn Fellowes (1884–1953). He was a banker cousin of Winston Churchill and the son of William Fellowes, 2nd Baron de Ramsey. They had one child.

Daisy Fellowes was also a minor novelist and poet. She was notorious for her blunt observations and few escaped her notice or her acidic tongue. Of her first children, she once said, “The eldest, Emmeline, is like my first husband only a great deal more masculine; the second, Isabelle, is like me without guts; [and] the third, Jacqueline, was the result of a horrible man called Lischmann ….”

Daisy Fellowes by Man Ray, 1926 via

Daisy Fellowes, wearing Schiaparelli, 1933 via

Daisy Fellowes wearing Schiaparelli via