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Catalog Data

Artist:
René Robert Bouché, 20 Sep 1905 - Jul 1963  Search this
Sitter:
Elsa Maxwell, 24 May 1883 - 1 Nov 1963  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
122 × 56 cm (48 1/16 × 22 1/16")
Frame: 130.8 × 64.8 × 4.4 cm (51 1/2 × 25 1/2 × 1 3/4")
Type:
Painting
Date:
1959
Exhibition Label:
Born Keokuk, Iowa
Well before social media, the multi-talented Elsa Maxwell wielded the power of publicity and celebrity as a critic, New York Post gossip columnist, composer, actor, and radio host. Following the First World War and up to her death, Maxwell orchestrated gatherings attended by the likes of Rita Hayworth and Cole Porter; the duke and duchess of Windsor; and England’s secretary of foreign affairs, Arthur Balfour. While connecting luminaries in Europe and the United States, she also consulted on Hollywood scripts, wrote memoirs and guides to entertaining, and, she claimed, invented the scavenger hunt.
Recognizing that class dynamics differed from country to country, Maxwell gave “great parties all over the world to which everyone would want to come,” but noted, “the rich would be invited only if they had something more important than money.” Here, society portraitist and Vogue illustrator René Bouché captures her bold personality.
Nacida en Keokuk, Iowa
Antes de las redes sociales, la polifacética Elsa Maxwell esgrimió el poder de la publicidad y la fama como crítica, columnista de farándula del New York Post, compositora, actriz y presentadora radial. Desde la Primera Guerra Mundial hasta su muerte, orquestó reuniones sociales con figuras como Rita Hayworth y Cole Porter, el duque y la duquesa de Windsor y el secretario de asuntos exteriores inglés, Arthur Balfour. Mientras forjaba relaciones entre celebridades de Europa y Estados Unidos, fue asesora en guiones de Hollywood, escribió memorias y guías de espectáculos y, según decía, inventó el juego de la “búsqueda del tesoro”.
Consciente de que las dinámicas de clase variaban de país en país, Maxwell ofrecía “grandes fiestas por todo el mundo, a las que todos querrían asistir”, pero “solo invitaba a los ricos si tenían algo más importante que dinero”. Aquí el retratista de sociedad e ilustrador de Vogue René Bouché capta su carácter audaz.
Provenance:
The artist; his widow Denise Bouché Fitch, San Francisco; (Achim Moeller Fine Art, Ltd., New York); purchased 1991 NPG
Topic:
Costume\Jewelry\Bracelet  Search this
Costume\Dress Accessory\Glove  Search this
Baggage & Luggage\Bag\Purse  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Female  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Literature\Writer  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Society and Social Change\Hostess  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie actor  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Performing Arts\Performer\Entertainer  Search this
Elsa Maxwell: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.91.80
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
Copyright:
© Denise Bouche Fitch
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Location:
Currently not on view
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm44efac0d5-eeef-42d9-9a82-f29772eaffce
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.91.80