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The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse [Hardcover]

Scot D. Ryersson , Michael Orlando Yaccarino
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £29.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009
"The Marchesa Casati" is a visual biography told through a collection of photographs, paintings and illustrations of the legendary and eccentric socialite Marchesa Luisa Casati. Known for her extravagant lifestyle and strange beauty, Casati was the muse for a number of influential photographers, painters and designers throughout the 20th century. During the first half of the twentieth century, Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was Europe's most notorious celebrity. Her eccentric personality and scandalous escapades captivated some of the most influential artists of her time. She was painted by Boldini, sketched by Drian and photographed by Man Ray, among others. Jack Kerouac dedicated poems to her; Fortuny, Poiret and Erte dressed her. She continues to inspire top designers today. "The Marchesa Casati" is a visual biography, telling Casati's captivating life story alongside the art and designs she has inspired, featuring over 150 images. Family photographs, paintings, sculptures and photographs illustrate the artistic and cultural legacy she left behind. This book also includes an introductory essay by acclaimed New Yorker writer Judith Thurman and an afterword by Lady Moorea Black, Casati's granddaughter and only living relative.

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The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse + Café Society: Socialites, Patrons, and Artists: 1920 to 1960
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081094815X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810948150
  • Product Dimensions: 28.8 x 23.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Scot D. Ryersson is an award-winning writer, illustrator and graphic designer. Michael Orlando Yaccarino is a freelance writer specialising in international genre film, fashion and unconventional historical figures.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great illustrated book 14 Oct 2009
This book is a perfect complement to Infinite Variety: life and legend of the Marchesa Casati written by the same authors. It's a collection of over 150 images and pictures of the Marchesa (paintings of the Marchesa, pictures of young Luisa and her family, pictures of the costumes she wore and of her many homes). It is an illustrated biography, so there is also a lot to read (although I still suggest the reading of Infinite Variety). The book is divided in chapters: a useless introduction by Diane von Fustenberg (she might be good with clothes, but she shouldn't be allowed to write); a very good foreword by Judith Thurman (writer and contributor to the New Yorker); an afterword by Luisa's granddaughter. There are the pictures of Luisa taken by Man Ray (gorgeous); some Vogue articles on the parties at the Marchesa's; some of the collages made by Luisa when she was penniless, living in London; many amazing paintings by Boldini; portraits by Augustus John; photos of Luisa in Poiret's costumes; pictures and paintings of the late Luisa; a very big (maybe too big) chapter dedicated to the legend of the Marchesa and all the movies and theatrical pieces about her life (with photos of Liz Taylor, Bergman and so on) as well as photos of fashion collections inspired by the Marchesa (Marchesa, Dior, Lagerfeld, Tom Ford).
This is definitely a nice book to have (especially if you have an empty coffee table in your living room).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Buy! 2 Mar 2010
By Sabrina
Book is FULL of images that are not on the web! and has a full informative biography of her life divided into three sections, early life, her prime and her afterlife! would recommend the read to friends!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to be a living work of art. 23 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a must have. The authors have done a marvellous job, after releasing the biography Infinite Variety, with this illustrated biographyfull of pictures but mostly paintings and works of art to prove why Marchesa is the third most portrayed woman in art, only after the Virgin and Cleopatra.

Everyone should have this book in their libraries.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to be Savored 11 Jan 2010
By Joanne Bergen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a bedtime reader, it is easy to tell when I am into a page-turner - I go to bed early. A few years ago when reading "Infinite Variety", the authors' first offering on Casati's life and times, I remember announcing to my husband that "I think I'll go and see what the Marchesa is up to tonight", whereupon he gave me that "you're going to bed at 8:30 look?" Unlike "Infinite Variety", "The Marchesa Casati Portraits of a Muse" is not a book to be hungrily devoured. It is more like fine dining - one wants to savor every bite!

It is important to understand both what this book is and what it is not. It is a picture book. But unlike so many of today's pictorial offerings, it is definitely not a poorly researched and bunged- together doorstop. This book was more curated than written. It was done so with so much obvious attention to detail that one can easily imagine its contents on display at a blockbuster National Portrait Gallery show. From the high production values to the tasteful and varied graphics and the clever construction that sets out the Casati legend in dramatic phases, this is a beautiful book.

Two things shine through on every page - the passion the authors have for their subject matter and the care they take to ensure their many pictures appear alongside the corresponding text. This latter point is not a minor one - so many authors of illustrated books bend to publishing economics by binding in picture "sections" which require the reader to madly flip back and forth through many pages in order to relate textual and graphic elements. In this book the echoes of argument between the authors, editors and layout artists ("no, the Van Dongen portrait stays right where it is.... you move the D'Annunzio photo over my dead body".... etc.) are visceral. What results is not only a well-organized and brilliantly engaging book, but a book that is truly an inspired work of art! Bravo!

The closing section, entitled "Afterlife," deserves special mention. It is here that the authors allow their academic integrity to shine as they prove that their book and indeed Casati's life is not just about outrageous exhibitionism. The thesis is that the Marchesa is important in the context of art and cultural history and the examples they provide, whether from Hollywood film, haute couture or even consumer products prove that the lady did indeed leave a legacy that even today inspires "generations of artists around the world....". Double Bravo!

If the first half of the 20th Century is "your" historical period, you are going to love this book. If you own a copy of "Infinite Variety", you need this companion piece. If 20th Century Modern Art is your thing, this is a must on your bookshelf. Otherwise, just get the book and enjoy a most worthwhile art-literary experience!
- Joanne Bergen (aka the artophile)artophile.com
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original Goth Girl 21 Oct 2009
By Miss Elizabeth Trotwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Scott Ryersson and Michael Yaccarino are not the only ones obsessed with Marchesa Luisa Casati. Ever since I first saw one of the Man Ray portraits of her, I have been fascinated with her look and her life.
This book has it all!! Pictures not included in the Ryersson/Yaccarino bio of her: Infinite Variety; and also brief bio bits that were in Infinite Variety.
A gorgeous confection of a coffee table book of a woman I would call the first Goth girl!
For those sick of Audrey Hepburn and her ilk, this book is a welcome respite!
May the Marchesa live on in the hearts and arts of many to come!
Thank you Scott Ryersson and Michael Yaccarino for this amazing and fabulous book!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Marchesa Casati, Portrait of a Muse 29 Sep 2009
By D. O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Love the book! What a fascinating person and told so well!
I received my copy yesterday and sat up to the wee hours to read.
I'm ordering another to give as a gift.
The text as are the photographs make this enigmatic woman live.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!! 12 Dec 2009
By clody17 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is an amazing book! the best collection of images and photos about the marchesa luisa casati.
Many of them have never been published before.
With a super interesting section about contemporary artists and designers still inspired by Her!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Marchesa Casati was a celebrity of her time as eccentric as the ones we have in this century 27 Jan 2014
By Elaine S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved the visual biography of Marchesa Casati and the legacy that she wanted to leave behind. It's a pity that her daughter was not as fortunate as the rest of those that she inspired and cultivated. There is an Afterword in the back of the book from Marchesa's granddaughter indicating that much admired her and found bewitching.
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