by Lord: Giacometti’s prostitutes, Surrealist police and the provenance of Christian Bérard, house of Dior (with some admirable photos of Bettina Rheims I’ve perverted)

– photo by Bettina Rheims

Alberto’s first mature sexual experience established a pattern. Prostitutes became the simplest solution to a problem that had no solution. It was not necessary to justify this expedience. Physical deliverance did that. But the time would come when he felt constrained to explain repeatedly in public and private why whores made the most satisfactory mistresses. It was courageous of him to do that, because, while the reasons he gave were serious and sincere, none of them hinted at the true reason. But perhaps he was in no danger of being obliged to understand. His work fulfilled the function of understanding.

– James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1985, p. 48

– photo by Bettina Rheims

While the function of appropriation to the clichés and platitudes of psychotherapeutizing biographical exploitation is reserved by Laurie Wilson, according to this link, in abject contrast to the profound and elegant work on his subject, an undertaking of some fifteen years, done by James Lord.

NB: What can any of us wish but that the work fulfill the function of understanding.

Lord notes in passing that of the Surrealist triumvirate, Paul Eluard, André Breton and Louis Aragon, the latter two were the sons of policemen. [Ibid., p. 113]

The worlds of art and fashion being both intermingled and interdependent, success in one often goes hand in hand with success in the other.

– Ibid., p. 124

– photo by Bettina Rheims

A creative self-server of exceptional talent, Cocteau was known as the most captivating conversationalist of his time, and he certainly had a prodigious way with words. It may have been his undoing, however, as he became so fascinated by his capacity for fascinating others that he sacrificed much talent to the blandishments of great fame. The paintings of Christian Bérard were neither original nor important, but they were supremely stylish and found appreciative buyers. Bérard also had a distinguished career as a designer for the theatre and, after the Second World War, contributed considerably to the brilliant success of the couturier Christian Dior.

– Ibid.

– photo by Bettina Rheims