It’s not that Romaine Brooks’ portraits didn’t, as Truman Capote put it, represent “the all-time ultimate gallery of all the famous dykes from 1880 to 1935 or thereabouts”. They did, but there was a lot more besides that going on. The other oft-heard quote about Brooks (who died on this day in 1970), Robert de Montesquiou’s description of her as “thief of souls”, is a far better assessment. In her signature muted palette, she renders her subjects against sombre backdrops, sometimes with nothing more than a totemic animal for company, often revealing far more of themselves than they might care to. Much more on Brooks here.
Grey eminence, Salon queen, A Casati picture gallery, Romaine Brooks | drawings, The Other Amazon, Circles: Natalie Clifford Barney, Wild hearts at midnight (Romaine Brooks, plus Natalie Barney)
Death becomes her, Phantom of the empire, World Famous Aerial Queen, Berenice Abbott | portraits, Dress-down Friday: Barbette, Circles: Ludwig II/Sissi, Jacques-Émile Blanche | portraits, Circles: Erika and Klaus Mann, Pearls: Jean Cocteau, The ghosts of Versailles (Jean Cocteau)
Dress-down Friday: Eugenia Errázuriz
Places: Vittorialie degli italiani, D’Annunzio’s Cave, Places: Palais Rose, Le Vésinet, Dress-down Friday: Gabriele d’Annunzio (Gabriele d’Annunzio)
The countess in the afterlife, A Casati family tree, A Casati picture gallery, Casati continues to captivate…, Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3, Requiem for a Marchesa, Dress-down Friday: Marchesa Casati (Marchesa Casati)