Friday, April 24, 2009

Marchesa Casati by Man Ray

This image one of many by famed photographer/dadist and innovator Man Ray.
Man Ray, born Emmanuel Radnitzky (August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976), was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. Best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, Man Ray produced major works in a variety of media and considered himself a painter above all. He was also a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. He is noted for his photograms, which he renamed rayographs after himself.

About the photo..

In the decadent 1920’s it was the notoriously naughty Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957), daughter of a wealthy cotton manufacturer, who reigned as the disreputable diva of her day. Everywhere she went, she set trends, inspired genius and astounded even the most jaded members of the international aristocracy.

Renowned as the most scandalous woman of her generation, the Marchesa was Europe’s most cosseted celebrity, and its most eccentric. For the first three decades of the twentieth century she traveled to Venice, Rome, Capri and Paris collecting palaces and a menagerie of exotic animals, all the while declaring:

“I want to be a living work of art.”
I am inspired by both artist and subject here for their breakaway spirit and creative genius. I won't tell you Marchesa's sad tale except she was seen digging through a trash heap at the end of her life looking for a feather to put in her hair....concerned about her looks until the end.. a true fashion queen!


Anonymous said...

Visit the official Marchesa Casati site:

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Fascinating! I had never heard of Man Ray or the beautiful Marchesa. Thank you for educating me to this wonderful work!

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I am a mother of 2 wonderful girls, grandmother of 4, don't worry you will see photos of them one day! I live in Sedona Arizona, a beautiful place, lots of sun and blue blue skies! I listen to politics and my favorite radio channel is Cinemix. I am the oldest of 11 , I love my kids, my parents and my siblings and my friends!!