“Yes, everything that has truly been seen must become a poem!”
-RAINER MARIA RILKE (1875-1926)
As an art dealer and interior design consultant, my vision was honed through a career in dance and a passion for 18th- and 19th-century French art. I have auctioned pieces at Christie’s and Sotheby’s and have had the pleasure to lecture on the subject of 18th- and 19th-century French academic art. While inspired to move in other creative directions, such as my blog and book, I continue to research fine period art, for both clients and my own enjoyment. I am also delighted to offer a small selection of such pieces, on this site.
As a designer, I have created elegant and graceful interiors, harmoniously integrating fine art, antiques, contemporary furnishings, and flowers. Additionally, I hold the title of Official Garden Designer of the Mission of Argentina to the United Nations.
Whether working in the academic or artistic realm, my goal is always the same – to inspire a level of beauty which lifts one’s soul.
Albert de Belleroche (1864-1944)
This gorgeous and spirited oil on canvas painting by Albert de Belleroche (friend and colleauge of John Singer Sargent) is available to purchase through our online gallery. It is part of our selection of fine 18th- and 19th-century French academic paintings, drawings, and engravings from artists who exhibited at the Paris Salons. These artists are represented in fine art museums throughout the world, including Le Musée du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
inspired by beauty – a journey through time
and soon the book…
A new direction in my work began with my lecture-presentation, Exquisite French Period Art and Interiors- A Journey Through Time. First presented in 2010, the lecture explored the art of the 18th-century French rococo through 19th-century French academic movements and its influence on culture. One of the many subjects discussed was Enlightenment thinking; as it was the force that set these movements into motion. Also shared were marvelous stories of the artists’ lives and work, which magically brought to life the colors, tones, and textures of this wondrous past.
My enthusiasm for these subjects inspired me to continue exploring and sharing about this era, without knowing where this would lead. And here we are, continuing the journey in the form of a blog. Together, we will travel from Enlightenment to Romanticism and onward to modern times. And, while exploring concepts of beauty and aesthetics, we will be joined by 18th- and 19th-century philosophers and poets, as they are the guardians of beauty and truth.
Above, is an image of the beautiful fine art photography of Brooklyn-based artists Scott Irvine and Kim Meinelt of WAXenVINE. It is one of a number of their works that will be featured on the blog. (Tab is at the top of the page)
I am delighted to also share with my readers how my passion for these subjects, sparked by my desire to create beauty, evolved into a book. (To learn more, click on the Book tab at the top of this page)
My design of an elegant cream and white bedroom features sumptuous fabrics among fine art and furnishings, both period and modern. Its gentle tones and textures set the mood for a luxurious retreat, which I hoped would be both a respite and an inspiration. A white boudoir pillow, embroidered by Frette Linens of Italy, wears my original, scripted letter ‘A’ logo. Behind a velvet headboard, one can see a contemporary print displayed on a silk-covered wall. The print, titled “Seated Young Woman”, is after an 18th-century French chalk drawing by master rococo painter and draughtsman Antoine Watteau. The original drawing belongs to the Morgan Library and Museum of New York City. Its fluid, poetic lines capture the sensuality of the era – it is the exemplar of French rococo.
Watteau’s remarkable life and art will be explored in an upcoming post.
Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand
In my contemporary tea salon, modern furnishings with clean and elegant lines blend harmoniously with the refined Louis XVI style. Luscious shades of lavender, mauve, pink, and purple envelop our senses, while heady scents of fresh-cut blooms fill the air. The hand-painted, paper flowers – perched atop books like a crown of confection – are the work of Danish sculptress Marie-Louise Otte. Their soft, chalky hues evoke the delicate shades of 18th-century France.
The console is made today by Maison Taillardat. Inspired by the superb craftsmanship of 18th-century French master ébénistes, its refined and graceful lines are the quintessence of Louis Seize style.
An elegant setting of pastel-colored pastries and sumptuous roses beckons one to tea. Hand-painted, Chinese murals (after an 18th-century design) make for an enchanting background.
The English silver teapot is a treasured possession. A family heirloom, it is filled with my mum’s memories of growing up in war-torn London and stories of love.
The pastries are from Ladurée – Cachepot by AERIN – and fine French porcelain is from Maison Bernardaud.
— Rainer Maria Rilke quote used with kind permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York —
Note: The slideshow on the Home page features Lauren Rossi in scenes from my book; photography by Phillip Van Nostrand.
my vision: from dance to design and the telling of stories
As a choreographer, I began the creation of each dance from a single idea. With an open heart and an open mind, the creative process itself would lead me in new directions. The result was a synthesis of all the elements which led to a finished work of art. I was moved as I noticed moments when my audience members shed tears from the experience. The transformative nature of art and beauty runs deep. I find the creative process of design to be similar to dance. I begin with one idea. It could be tone, color, style, rhythm, or concept. In storytelling, (when I am writing from my imagination) the process unfolds in like manner. I allow this initial idea to lead me through magnificent doors which I had not known were before me. The openness of this creative process is what I love about art, beauty, and life itself. Choreographer Merce Cunningham called this “chance operations” and the poet John Keats used the term “negative capability”.
When I create, my desire is always to ignite and inspire that place in our souls where we experience beauty. This wondrous process of creating and bringing beauty to others, brings me more gifts than I could have imagined.
“- but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things”
-john keats (1795-1821)
from a letter to fanny brawne, 1820
For more about my life in dance, visit the site’s GARDENS & DANCE page. Tab is above or click: HERE