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Elisabeth Commanday papers

Creator:
Commanday, Elisabeth, 1890-1994  Search this
Names:
Anrep, Alda  Search this
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959  Search this
Berenson, Elizabeth  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Extent:
0.4 Linear feet ((on 1 microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1949-1968
Scope and Contents:
Seventy-seven letters to Commanday from Bernard Berenson, 1949-1958; ca. fifty from Berenson's companion, Nicky Mariano, 1954-1968; ten from Mariano's sister, Baroness Alda Anrep, 1960-1974; and ca. fifty from Berenson's sister, Elizabeth (Bessie) Berenson, 1966-1975. The letters are mostly personal. Also included are letters from Commanday to various friends written while traveling in Europe, 1958, mentioning her visits to I Tatti; photographs of Mariano, Bessie, I Tatti, and Commanday; and articles and obituaries regarding Berenson and Mariano.
Provenance:
Donated 1993 by Maurice Commanday, son of Elisabeth Commanday. Commanday corresponded with Berenson for nearly ten years. At his death in 1959, Berenson's companion Nicky Mariano returned to Commanday all of her letters, which she discarded, except for the earliest letter written in April 1949 after reading about Berenson in Life magazine and his book Sketch for Self-Portrait. She tells Berenson that her sister married Jack Rubenstein and she became one of the family. "I adored Leah Rubenstein and met Aunty Berenson there many times."
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Identifier:
AAA.commelis
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-commelis

Romaine Brooks papers

Creator:
Brooks, Romaine  Search this
Names:
Acten, Harold  Search this
Barney, Natalie Clifford  Search this
Bizardel, Yvon  Search this
Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme, 1896-1986  Search this
Brooks, Romaine  Search this
Castelnou, Jean-Pierre  Search this
Dreyfus-Barney, Laura  Search this
Gauthier-Villars, Louis  Search this
Lahovary, Janine  Search this
Mac'Avoy, Edouard, 1905-  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
McClelland, Donald  Search this
Noailles, Charles, vicomte de  Search this
Strozzi, Uberto  Search this
Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964  Search this
Extent:
3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Poems
Photographs
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Manuscripts
Sound recordings
Diaries
Notes
Date:
1910-1973
Summary:
The papers of painter Romaine Brooks measure 3 linear feet and date from 1910 to 1973. Found are biographical sketches, correspondence, seven journals, writings and notes, printed materials, a scrapbook, and photographs. Most of the materials focus on Brooks' later life while living in Paris and Nice, France and Fiesole, Italy and make little reference to her paintings and portraits.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of painter Romaine Brooks measure 3 linear feet and date from 1910 to 1973. Found are biographical sketches, correspondence, seven journals, writings and notes, printed materials, a scrapbook, and photographs. Most of the materials focus on Brooks' later life while living in Paris and Nice, France and Fiesole, Italy and make little reference to her paintings and portraits.

Biographical information includes biographical sketches and a sound recording of an interview of Brooks.

Personal business records consists of one receipt, in French, for an item purchased by Brooks.

Correspondence is scattered and the bulk of it dates from 1950-1969. About half of the correspondence is in French and includes only a few of Romaine's replies. Notable correspondents include Harold Acten, Laura Barney, Yvon Bizardel, Adelyn Breeskin, Jean-Pierre Castelnau, Louis Gauthier-Villars, Janine Lahovary, Edouard MacAvoy, Nicky Mariano, Donald McClelland, Charles de Noailles, David Scott, Alan Searle, and Uberto Strozzi. Letters make little reference to Brooks's paintings, however some discuss her health and relationship with Natalie Barney. Also found is a small amount of Natalie Barney's personal correspondence dating from 1924-1968.

Writings and notes includes seven handwritten journal notebooks which contain Romaine's thoughts, quotes from poetry and literature, references to museums and works of art throughout Europe, and drafts of letters. Also found is a manuscript of No Pleasant Memories, Brooks's autobiography, and A War Interlude, a book she wrote describing her life in Italy during World War II.

Printed material includes a copy of Natalie Barney's poetry, a poem by Brooks, a large-format copy of Gabriele D'Anunzio's poem Sur Une Image de la France Croisse Piente Par Romaine Brooks; magazines and exhibition catalogs concerning Brooks' art; clippings; and a nameplate for Eyre de Lanux, one of Barney's lovers.

There is one scrapbook which includes newsclippings, the majority of which are in French, concerning Brooks and her artwork from 1910 to 1931.

Photographs are of Brooks, of Brooks in her studio surrounded by her art; prints of photos of Brooks's mother and family; photographs of works of art including a photo of Brooks's portrait on John Cocteau hanging in the Louvre. Notable photographers include Carl Van Vecten and Perou.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1967-1968 (Box 1; 2 folders)

Series 2: Personal Business Records, 1967 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1924-1969, bulk 1950-1969 (Boxes 1-3; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1930s-1959 (Boxes 3-4; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1910-1973 (Boxes 4-6; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Scrapbook, 1910-1931 (Box 6; 1 folder)

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1910-1970s (Box 5-6, OV7-8; 0.3 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Romaine Brooks (1874-1970) was a wealthy portrait painter who lived abroad for most of her life in Paris, and Nice, France, and Fiesole, Italy.

Beatrice Romaine Goddard was born in Rome, Italy on May 1, 1874 to Ella Waterman and Major Henry Goddard. Although born into wealth and privilage, Romaine did not have a happy childhood. Her mother was abusive to her, but doted on her mentally ill brother. Brooks' mother arranged for her to live with a poor family in a New York City tenement in exchange for meager payments, which were later stopped, while her brother and sister stayed with their mother. Later, she was sent to boarding school.

Eventually, Brooks left for Europe and took voice lessons and studied art in France and Italy. Her brother died in 1901 and her mother became physically ill. Brooks returned to the United States to tend to her mother who died less than a year after her son's death. Upon her mother's death, Brooks and her sister became heiress' to their grandfather, Issac S. Waterman Jr's substantial fortune. Brooks then began to lead a life of wealth and travel.

In 1903, Brooks married a friend, John Ellingham Brooks who was a homosexual. Brooks was bisexual, although according to her biographer Meryl Secrest she may have just enjoyed the companionship of living with someone. They lived together for a year until she left when he disapproved of her public androgynous style of dress.

Romaine first traveled to London and then returned to Paris, where she lived in the 16th arrondissement. She engaged in an elite social life and painted many of the friends in her circle. Brooks chose to paint portraits in a gray color palette, depicting many women in male dress. The somber nearly colorless palette and cross-dress of the sitter gave the paintings an androgynous look. One of her most notable paintings was her own self-portrait that represented this style. Inspired by James McNeill Whistler, Romaine largely ignored the Cubist and Fauvist movements.

In 1909, she met Gabriele D'Annunzio and engaged in a love affair. Among her other lovers are Ida Rubinstein, the Princess de Polignac, and the American writer, Natalie Barney. Natalie and Romaine were involved for fifty years, despite Barney's various affairs and other lovers. They shared a home with two separate wings, which allowed Brooks to be by herslf while Barney entertained friends.

In the 1930s, Brooks abandoned painting and created line drawings, which were featured in Bizarre magazine. After 1935, however, Brooks largely stopped being an active artist. She wrote her autobiography in the 1930s, No Pleasant Memories, as well as an account of her time spent in Italy.

During World War II, Brooks and Barney fled to Italy, where Brooks remained after the war ended. Her later life was marked with self-imposed isolation, even refusing to see Barney during her visits. Romaine Brooks died in 1970 in Nice, France.

After her death, Adelyn Breeskin curated an exhibit of her works at the National Collection of Fine Arts (1971) in Washington, D.C., and at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1971).
Provenance:
The Romaine Brooks papers were donated by Meryle Secrest, Brooks's biographer, in 1999. Secrest received the letters and notebooks directly from Brooks's estate and compiled the remainder. Additional papers were transfered from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art via the Smithsonian Institution Archives in 1986.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Portrait painters -- France  Search this
Topic:
Women painters -- France  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Italy  Search this
Portrait painting -- 20th century  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Genre/Form:
Poems
Photographs
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Manuscripts
Sound recordings
Diaries
Notes
Citation:
Romaine Brooks papers, 1910-1973. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.brooroma
See more items in:
Romaine Brooks papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-brooroma
Online Media:

Mariano, Nicky

Collection Creator:
Jacques Seligmann & Co  Search this
Container:
Box 63, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1954-1969
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records / Series 1: Correspondence / 1.3: General Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-jacqself-ref10504
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Mariano, Nicky (see: Berenson, Bernard)

Collection Creator:
Thompson, Daniel V. (Daniel Varney), 1902-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 4, Folder
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Daniel Varney Thompson papers, 1848-1979, bulk 1923-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Daniel Varney Thompson papers
Daniel Varney Thompson papers / Series 3: Subject Files / 3.1: Personal and Professional
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-thomdani-ref68

Romaine Brooks papers, 1910-1973

Creator:
Brooks, Romaine, 1874-1970  Search this
Subject:
Van Vechten, Carl  Search this
Gauthier-Villars, Louis  Search this
Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme  Search this
Dreyfus-Barney, Laura  Search this
Castelnou, Jean-Pierre  Search this
Mac'Avoy, Edouard  Search this
Brooks, Romaine  Search this
Lahovary, Janine  Search this
McClelland, Donald  Search this
Acten, Harold  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Strozzi, Uberto  Search this
Bizardel, Yvon  Search this
Noailles, Charles, vicomte de  Search this
Barney, Natalie Clifford  Search this
Type:
Poems
Photographs
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Manuscripts
Sound recordings
Diaries
Notes
Topic:
Women painters -- France  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Italy  Search this
Portrait painting -- 20th century  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6290
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)220274
AAA_collcode_brooroma
Theme:
Women
Government Sponsorship of the Arts
American Art and Artists in a Global Context
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_220274
Online Media:

Elisabeth Commanday papers, 1949-1968

Creator:
Commanday, Elisabeth, 1890-1994  Search this
Subject:
Anrep, Alda  Search this
Berenson, Bernard  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Berenson, Elizabeth  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6377
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215333
AAA_collcode_commelis
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215333

Forty years with Berenson / by Nicky Mariano ; with an introduction by Sir Kenneth Clark

Author:
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Subject:
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959  Search this
Physical description:
xvi, 352, xiv p., [17] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1966
Call number:
N8375.B46 M3 1966a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_850906

La raccolta Berenson. Presentazione di Nicky Mariano. Testo introduttivo e catalogo a cura di Franco Russoli

Author:
Russoli, Franco  Search this
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Villa I Tatti (Florence, Italy)  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. illus., 111 plates (105 col.) port., facsim. 37 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1962
[1962]
Topic:
Painting, Italian  Search this
Painting--Private collections  Search this
Call number:
ND615.R87X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_184466

The Berenson collection. Pref. by Nicky Mariano. Introd. and catalogue by Franco Russoli. [Translated and edited by Frances and Sidney Alexander]

Author:
Russoli, Franco  Search this
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959  Search this
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Villa I Tatti (Florence, Italy)  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. illus., facsim., plates (part col.) port. 37 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1964
[1964]
Topic:
Painting, Italian  Search this
Painting--Private collections  Search this
Call number:
N5273.2.B48 R9 E1964
N5273.2.B48R9 E1964
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_14739

Forty years with Berenson; with an introduction by Sir Kenneth Clark

Author:
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Subject:
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 298 p. front., 22 plates (incl. ports.) 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1966
Call number:
N8375.B48 M3
N8375.B48M3
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_31186

The Berenson archive; an inventory of correspondence, compiled by Nicky Mariano, on the centenary of the birth of Bernard Berenson, 1865-1965

Author:
Mariano, Nicky  Search this
Villa I Tatti (Florence, Italy)  Search this
Subject:
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959 Manuscripts  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 122 p. facsim., port. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1965
Call number:
Z6616.B48 M3
Z6616.B48M3
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_59125

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