“Yes, everything that has truly been seen must become a poem!”
-RAINER MARIA RILKE (1875-1926)
from dance to fine art and design
As an art dealer and designer, my creative vision is honed through a life in dance and a passion for 18th- and 19th-century French art.
As an art dealer, I have auctioned French period art and antiques at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, lectured on 18th- and 19th-century French academic art and the 18th-century French interior, and sold pieces to art collectors worldwide. Living with and researching these exquisite art pieces, until they found a home, was one of my greatest pleasures. Haunted by their beauty, my passions merged – from dance to French Period art to design – and, to my delight, took shape in the form of a book.
As a designer, I have created graceful and elegant interiors and enchanting gardens. Inspired by Classical ideals of balance and harmony, my guiding principle has been ‘beauty’. Indoor spaces harmoniously integrate fine art, antiques, and contemporary furnishings, while landscapes seduce the senses through color, texture, and scent. As a garden designer, I am delighted to 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 to inspire a level of beauty which lifts one’s soul.
Albert de Belleroche (1864-1944)
This gorgeous, bursting-with-life, oil on canvas painting by Albert de Belleroche (friend and colleague 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 Salon, and are represented in fine art museums throughout the world.
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 period through 19th-century French academic movements and its influence on culture. One of the many subjects I explored was Enlightenment thinking, as the force that set these movements into motion. I also included marvelous stories surrounding the artists’ lives and work, which magically brought the colors, tones, and textures of this wondrous past to life.
My enthusiasm for these subjects inspired me to continue exploring and sharing fascinating details about this era, without knowing where this would lead. And now, here we are, continuing this journey together in the form of a blog, where we will travel from Enlightenment to Romanticism and onward to modern times. And adding to the pleasure of exploring the principle 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 a beautiful fine art photographic image created by 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 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 for this elegant cream and white bedroom features sumptuous fabrics set among modern and period fine art and furnishings. My hope was that its gentle tones and textures would evoke the mood of a luxurious retreat, where both respite and inspiration could be found. A white boudoir pillow, embroidered by Frette Linens of Italy, wears my original, scripted letter ‘A’ logo. Above the 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. With exquisite delicacy, its fluid lines capture the essence of the feminine and sensuous Rococo style.
Watteau gracefully ushered in the Rococo era and would be referred to as ‘the poet of 18th-century France’. His brief, yet 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, pink, mauve, 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 sconce is ca. 1940, Maison Baguès* and the console is made today by Maison Taillardat. The Taillardat piece was inspired by the superb craftsmanship of 18th-century French master ébénistes. Its refined and graceful lines are the quintessence of the Louis Seize style.
*As an antiques dealer, for many years, I had the pleasure of dealing in exquisite French period pieces. (This is where I developed my passion for French period art, which led me in a new direction.) Handling beautiful pieces by Maison Baguès, François Linke, and Maison Jansen – as well as researching their history and provenance – has been tremendously rewarding!
An elegant setting of sumptuous roses, French porcelain, and English silver beckons one to tea. Sprinkled throughout are the most delectable, pastel-colored pastries. 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, as well as stories of love.
The pastries are from Ladurée – Cachepot by AERIN – and the 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.
As a choreographer, I began the creation of each dance from a single idea. With an open heart and an open mind, I allowed the creative process itself to 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 again and again when I noticed members in my audience shedding 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 a 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 most about art, beauty, and life itself.*
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 ever 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
*An interesting note: The choreographer Merce Cunningham called his creative process “chance operations” and the poet John Keats used the term “negative capability”.
For more about my life in dance, visit the site’s GARDENS & DANCE page. Tab is above or click: HERE