Gondoliers on the Grand Canal in Venice

A Meditation on Age and Romance

  I turn 59 this week and knowing I am about to enter the last year of my 50’s has me thinking a great deal about age, particularly as it relates to independent women and romance. Did you know Peggy Guggenheim had a crush on Beat Poet Gregory Corso when she was my age—feelings he […]

Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting

  A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled crown on a pillow festooned with gold fleurs-de-lis; and a red velvet tablecloth flowing downward, its gold trim cascading onto a floral rug. Sumptuousness at every turn. Painting in […]

Gondoliers on the Grand Canal in Venice

Peggy Guggenheim Visits Oculus Gallery

  In 2009, I trekked to Venice with my dear friend JoAnn Locktov, the founder of Bella Figura Publications whose newest book Dream of Venice Architecture has just debuted to acclaim. We spent several contented days wandering through the city’s museums—first the Punta della Dogana where Tadao Ando, who has written an essay for JoAnn’s […]

Three children painted in the Elizabethan style.

Narratives That Illuminate Design

  Narratives That Illuminate Design If you believe that design-centric coffee table books contain nothing more than visual surveys of portfolios, I am out to change your mind today by presenting my choices for narratives that illuminate design. What has prompted this quest? Two intelligently written books in Rizzoli’s holiday catalog—both of which were published […]

John, Jr., playfully tugs at one of the three strands of Jackie’s famous simulated pearl necklace

One Special Summer with Jackie O

  Hegel’s caveat “history teaches us nothing” may be relevant in cultural and philosophical realities but in the design world the statement is far from succinct. No one knew this more resolutely than Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, or as we have come to affectionately call her Jackie O.     One Special Summer with Jackie […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

  The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” […]

Rolf Sachs Camera in Motion on Saxon Henry's blog

A Definition of Fleeting

“O nature, merciful and cruel mother, when do you have such power and such contrary wills, to make and unmake things so charming?” —Petrarch   Petrarch, one of the best-known Italian poets of the Renaissance, built a legacy around the ephemeral emotion of grief. He once lamented that everything pleasing in the world was to […]

Sophia Khan's Mystery of San Giorgio

Impressions of Venice

Several months ago, Sophia Khan engaged me on Twitter and I decided to visit her site to understand her point of view. I must say I was stunned by the whispery delicacy and magical powers of her paintings, a paradoxical mélange of attributes that is rare to find within the same oeuvre. I asked her […]

Roger Crowley Dream of Venice

Dream of Venice

  When JoAnn Locktov asked me to contribute a poem to the book she was planning to publish in collaboration with photographer Charles Christopher, I didn’t hesitate. When she gave me access to the photography so I could choose an image to use as my inspiration for the piece, which would be paired with the […]

IFDA TAS entry Miss Welty.

Taking a Page (or Two) from Eudora Welty Books

  Taking a Page (or Two) from Eudora Welty Books “Why don’t you design a chair, Saxon?” My normal response to the question, posed by the inimitable Tamara Matthews Stephenson, would have been, “Pshaw; I’m no designer!” This means the only explanation I have for the insanity that caused the words “Why not?” to cheerfully […]