Summer is right around the corner.... One activity we hope to accomplish in the coming months is to tackle our summer reading list. On the list this year? Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.
We've mentioned Proust before. The French writer (1871-1922) was a contemporary and admirer of Mariano Fortuny. He is most famous for his novel In Search of Lost Time, which some critics have hailed as the definitive novel of the twentieth century.
Proust found much of his inspiration in aesthetic philosophy. For example, he had a particular interest in Impressionism, and wanted to emulate its subject matter through his work. Furthermore, throughout the seven-volume In Search of Lost Time, Proust makes several references to Fortuny, such as this excerpt from Volume Five: The Captive:
Of all the outdoor and indoor gowns that Mme de Guermantes wore, those which seemed most to respond to a specific intention, to be endowed with a special significance, were the garments made by Fortuny from old Venetian models. Is it their historical character, or is it rather that each one of them is unique, that gives them so special a significance that the pose of the woman who is wearing one while waiting for you or while she talks to you assumes an exceptional importance, as though the costume had been the fruit of a long deliberation and your conversation was somehow detached from everyday life like a scene in a novel?
“(Fortuny) is remembered as a Renaissance Man, for his versatile mosaic of
but it is the specific category of textiles and garments that guarantees
immortality. Any of these, taken from one of his magical ateliers,
stands on its
own, offering us a window into another world.”
Caroline Milbank, Fashion Historian
The Beauty of Durres - Durres, Albania
Mosaic panels in Nea Moni - Chios, Greece
Parc Guell - Barcelona, Spain
Mosaic photos by Steve Freihon
"Unlike the hardness and resistance of the traditional material of a mosaic,
which have always been selected to weather the elements, Fortuny has turned
the concept of a mosaic into something soft and warm, while still maintaining
the same benefits of being a mosaic and the many opportunities
it presents to clients with what they can do to it.“
Pietro Lunetta, Fortuny Design Director and Mosaics Creator
Click to see larger image
Googling will lead to some interesting finds.
Mickey recently looked up the Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi, who took over the company after Mariano Fortuny’s passing in 1949. He found a Milwaukee Sentinel article from March 16, 1963.
Click to see the original article.
Happy New Year! The year is new, but this week, we’re taking it antique.
Imagine perusing a garage sale. Lying inconspicuously among piles of books with that old book smell and dusty china tea seats is a tapestry of rich blue-green and gold. The delicate fabric, the vibrant colors, the ecclesiastical design - you immediately recognize it as an original Fortuny piece. And best of all? You purchase it for a grand total of $10.
That’s what designer John Michael Murphy did when he stopped by a Southampton garage sale about nine years ago. He visited our showroom recently to share this fortuitous find with us, and we loved the incredible story.
John Michael Murphy rolling up his exquisite garage sale find
Fortuny tapestry, at center behind round table (click to enlarge)
Visit the QSSI to view tapestries from our collection up close
This morning, Mickey found a pleasant surprise in his inbox - an email from Tudy Sammartini with photos from her archives of the Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi's salon at the Fortuny factory in Venice.
Tudy, along with Ilaria Forti, is the woman behind the Fortuny garden rejuvenation project. She had also introduced her cousin Count Gozzi to Elsie - but that's an interesting story best saved for another post.
A view of the terrace through the Countess' bedroom
The main salon
A view of the interior
Last week, Mickey traveled to Venice for a trip to the Fortuny factory, one of several trips that he and Maury must make throughout the year. One day, a reporter walked into the factory, asked Mickey some questions, and snapped a few photos with his phone. Lo and behold - the next morning, Mickey found himself on the front page of the “Cultura & Spettacoli” (Culture & Entertainment) section of the Venetian newspaper La Nuova!
Click to see a larger version