The Fairy Godfather

Cecil Beaton , right, Stephen Tenant, left

In imagining my upcoming solo show Fairyland, the Bright Young Things of the twenties frequently occupy my mind and inspire my hand. Their love of spectacle, the thrill of the theatrical and the giddy truth found in what is so often dismissed as a camp sensibility, delights , encourages and informs my own work . The ethereal beauty Stephen Tenant was an enchanting (if silly) flower to this bouquet , but it was the magician Cecil Beaton who arranged it all.

Beaton had an astonishing career, the breadth of his accomplishments too immense for such a  casual post, but a new film, Love, Cecil  is to be released exploring this master’s work and life. I’m looking forward to its release.

 

My inspiration files frequently burst with Beaton’s images, here are a few. I have neglected to make attributions beyond Beaton, I apologize for that. If recognition is due, please message me and corrections will be made.

Stephen Tenant, the brightest of the Bright Young Things (at least superficially).
Cecil Beaton
1927
The Impersonation Party
1927
Beaton , upper right
Tenant, lower left
A masquerade of monarchs.

From impersonating celebrities to capturing their image, this is a beauty.

Elizabeth Taylor
Cecil Beaton
1953

Edith Sitwell was a recurring muse, and a personally a great favorite. I have countless images of this celebrated woman. I love them all.

Edith Sitwell
Cecil Beaton

Not much is needed to be said…

Gary Cooper
Cecil Beaton

From celebrity culture to the war effort, all the same Beaton glamor.

WWII sailor as seamstress
Cecil Beaton
Imperial War Museum
(quite fetching)

Closing with one of my favorite images of Dame Edith Sitwell, reminds me of Cerberus of course. This image taken the year I was born, 1962. I admire Sitwell’s approach to vanity, aging , beauty; she seemed to understand fully her curious allure.

Edith Sitwell
Cecil Beaton
1962

Have an inspired week.

 

 

 

 

Magnificent Inspiration

Last evening the Beloved and I went to LACMA to at last catch ” Ancient Bodies: Archeological Perspectives on Mesoamerican Figurines” , link: http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/ancient-bodies. A beguiling collection of figurines found near to dust at a ritual burial site in Guatemala, now restored . It is an extraordinary miracle that they have survived and that the shards of ephemeral clay , shimmering still with that iconic Maya blue , were able to be restored to their imaginative theatrical splendor . The attention to detail , the costumes , the inherent ritual of the funerary drama , all deeply moving and inspiring.

Here are some snapshots of these diminutive masterpieces. The show closes tomorrow February 4th, you literally have only hours to see this before they are returned to the vault, for how long , I haven’t a clue.

For a sense of scale, my husband gazes in wonder.

The following were not found in the aforementioned burial site but are part of LACMA’ current holdings of Maya ( Mesoamerican in general ) art . A testament to the richness of their treasure rooms . It’s a wondrous collection in a dazzling suite of gorgeous galleries , 4th floor of Art of the Americas Building.