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Posts Tagged ‘Cecil Beaton’

Waugh on Capote

June 13, 2013 | by

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Colin Spencer, Evelyn Waugh (pen & ink, 1959)

Of Mr. Capote’s prose it is hard to speak temperately. It is some sort of jargon quite unfamiliar to me. Of the information he seeks to convey, I am no judge. I have a distant acquaintance with a few of the subjects. Mr. Cecil Beaton I have known, not well, for nearer fifty than forty years. He has always struck me as a genial, hospitable, light-hearted fellow; to Mr. Capote he is ‘one of the most remarkable fellows alive’; and formidable, ‘bitter as bile to those in the Beaton bad-book, unhappy souls who entered this no-exit Hades’; and ‘haughty’; but above all ‘serious.’ ‘When discussing personalities Beaton invariably, asks, “But would you say X is a serious person?”’ Not invariably, Mr. Capote, I assure you. I have never heard him ask this question. Perhaps he likes to pull their legs a little when he goes to America.

—Evelyn Waugh on Observations, by Truman Capote and Richard Avedon, 1959. (Made available along with the rest of The Spectator’s vast archive.)

Image via ColinSpencer.co.uk.

 

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Staff Picks: Cecil Beaton in the City, ‘Threats’

March 9, 2012 | by

Andrea del Castagno, Portrait of a Man, ca. 1450–57, tempera on panel. Courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

If you get the chance, check out “Cecil Beaton: The New York Years,” which has extended its run at the Museum of the City of New York. It’s a record of the artist, designer, photographer, and general man-about-town’s relationship with the city in pictures and words, and both the duration of Beaton’s career and the scope of his creativity are something to behold. —Sadie Stein

On the recommendation of our art editor, Charlotte Strick, I’ve started reading Amelia Gray’s debut novel, Threatsthe nifty cover of which Charlotte designed, so perhaps she’s biased. But so far, it’s with good cause: the narrative is subversive and impressionistic, evidentiary and eccentric. It reminds me occasionally of Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps, another deeply imaginative book and one that, in the spirit of this post, I'd wholly recommend. —Nicole Rudick

It is, as Andrew Butterfield says in The New York Review of Books, a show “of staggering beauty and revelatory importance” and “a landmark exhibition,” and it is also your last chance to see it this week. I spent last Sunday strolling through the “The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I can’t imagine a more colorful or vibrant way to spend the weekend. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

I recently discovered Literature Map, an addicting bit of artificial intelligence that plots writers by similarity. Watch your favorite authors drift about in a blue void like awkward, disembodied party-goers! A Marauder's Map for the literary. (Also good for finding new reads.) —Allison Bulger

I visited the Whitney Biennial last week and caught Sarah Michelson’s disciplined performance of Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer,” a piece about movement, repetition, and the relationships formed in dance. Michelson's residency ends March 11 and it’s a spectacle not to be missed. —Elizabeth Nelson

A screener of Lena Dunham’s Girls made its way around the office a few weeks ago. It contained only three episodes, but I couldn’t get enough. —D.F.M.

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Fashion Week, 1947

September 12, 2011 | by

Gertrude Stein and model in Pierre Balmain’s salon, with Rosamond Bernier in the background. Photograph by Horst P. Horst.

When the French fashion houses began to open again in 1946–47 after World War II and the occupation, American magazines thought it worthwhile to send people over to report on them. I was one of those people. I edged into the fashion world almost sideways. I thought I was going to write art features when I was recruited by Vogue. But Mrs. Chase thought otherwise, and her word was law.

I found myself on one of those first transatlantic flights that stopped over for the night at Gander, Newfoundland, to refuel. You rested, fully dressed, in one of a line of cots in a kind of barracks. My immediate neighbors were a group of Dominican monks—Italian, no English. I had studied Italian a long time ago in college but had had no opportunity to practice. I could only remember a few lines of Dante, about returning from hell, not much of a conversational opener. I tried it out, anyhow, and got a gratifying response.

My traveling companion was a small, angelic, and gifted artist who was the magazine’s dessinateur. He went under the name of Eric. My entire professional training was a hissed injunction as I left for the airport: “Keep Eric sober.” Keeping Eric sober turned out to be a major project, but if his gait was sometimes unsteady, his line never wavered. Read More »

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