This essay following Henry James through Italy is included in my most recent book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in the book feature…View More Traveling Italy with Henry James
As a city, Venice has been the center of intrigue since time immemorial, and it’s been just as intriguing during modern times for ex-pats like Peggy Guggenheim.
One of the most poignant stories I read about Peggy Guggenheim in Venice was her attraction to the Beat Poet Gregory Corso. During her early years in Venice, the art heiress described her time as “lonely.” And during her later years, I believe her state of mind was much the same, particularly when she learned that Corso was attracted to her daughter.
Corso noticed the despair I speak of as he left her for the last time, writing in his letters: “I kissed her good-bye and while I watched her walk away I saw that she put her hand to her head as though she were in pain. I suddenly realized the plight of the woman by that gesture. She is a liver of life, and life is fading away. That’s all there is to it.” Relating the lives of literature’s greats to a city in this way adds depth to the urban-scapes I see when I visit them, and I do it often. I hope to go back to Venice someday. I’ve learned a great deal more about Guggenheim since I visited so I believe my time in town would have even more depth.
A Passion for Paestum
This essay featuring three important perceptions of the archaeological site in Paestum, Italy, is included in my new book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other…View More A Passion for Paestum
Peggy Guggenheim Goes Off-Beat
This essay exploring the world of Peggy Guggenheim in Venice is included in my new book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in the book…View More Peggy Guggenheim Goes Off-Beat
Madame Récamier and the Art of Reclining
Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard, known after her marriage as Juliette Récamier, was born on December 4, 1777—240 years ago yesterday. Had she lived during modern…View More Madame Récamier and the Art of Reclining
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…View More Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
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…View More Peggy Guggenheim Visits Oculus Gallery
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…View More Narratives That Illuminate Design
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.…View More One Special Summer with Jackie O
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…View More Poetry and Ceramics in Savona
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,…View More A Definition of Fleeting