Thursday, 6 March 2008

Picasso's other Mother


Eugenia Huichi, by Eugenia Errazuriz's husband Jose Tomas Errazuriz .


Eugenia Errazuriz, Pablo Picasso 1924.


Mme. Errazuriz, Jacques Emile Blanche 1890.


Mme. Errazuriz, John Singer Sargent 1882.


Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errazuriz (15 September 1860 - 1954).

Cecil Beaton wrote of her in The Glass of Fashion,"Her effect on the taste of the last fifty years has been so enormous that the whole aesthetic of modern interior decoration, and many of the concepts of simplicity...generally acknowledged today, can be laid at her remarkable doorstep."

Mme Errazuriz had the aesthetic and the spirit of an Abbess. Her framework, the Biarritz villa La Mimoseraie, was stripped to its bare essentials: plain linen curtains, indigo upholstery, red-tile floors, and whitewashed walls. For her, elegance was the elimination of the superfluous. Throw out and keep throwing out.
Ah, there really is nothing like that Latin sense of severity. To ascribe the trait of minimalism to her though, is a mistake. Modernism, yes. Minimalism, no.


For more on Eugenia Errazuriz, An Aesthete's Lament recomends this article in The New York Times.

----------------
Now playing: k.d. lang - Wash Me Clean
via FoxyTunes

13 comments:

mamacita said...

I have a new heroine. Thank you, House!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

mamacita - if you haven't read Beaton's wonderful portrait of her - you simply must.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

For more about Eugenia (who became a lay nun and had her habit designed by Chanel), ready Jody Shields's wonderful 1992 article in The New York Times. Oh, I wish she had built that last house, designed for her by Le Corbusier, to be constructed on her land in Chile, where she retreated when old and dying. Of the house in Biarritz, she wrote, "I love my house as it looks very clean and very poor!" The Times article is at: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE3D6173AF932A25753C1A964958260. FYI: The painting you have identified as "Eugenia Huichi, by her future husband," is actually Eugenia Errazuriz's niece ... the EE of your post was born about 1860, so the dress of the portrait shown is all wrong for the 1870s/80s ... the Huici and Errazuriz families had numerous Eugenias ...

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Could that portrait be of Eugenia around 1915 though? And her husband just flattering her prettiness? I love the Sargent circa-1905 sketch of her, when she was in her mid 40s, seen here: http://www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/Mugs/Mme_Eugenia_Errazuriz.jpg

Cote de Texas said...

I thought maybe you made a mistake at first because the third portrait looks like a Sargent to me! The one in questions b A.L. - she doesn't seem very young in that at all. The Sargent portrait is beautiful. love the comparison.

And - thanks for the comment - you hate the Freud? I do too but I kept thinking I "should" like it - it's Freud! It's hideous really.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

AL - You are so right - I think that is her. Maybe in London?

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I will do some hunting ... not that it matters, but one of Eugenia's nieces by marriage, Blanca Elena Errázuriz Vergara, married an American, John de Saulles, in 1911 and scandalized society by shooting him to death during a custody dispute. Oh, my!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Delicious ... John Richardson wrote of Eugenia thusly: "Her schooling left her fluent, if not always comprehensible, in French and English and only a little more so in Castilian. 'Une étrange sharabia' (gibberish) is how friends described her way of speaking." She had three children too: Maximiliano, Carmen, and María. A big proper biography in English is overdue; there was one in French. Somebody should translate the damned thing.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Thanks to you, I now await delivery of a 2000 biography of Eugenia E ... arriving express from Paris via Châpitre ...

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Yes, just like the Castaing book you mentioned. It's going to take weeks to get through that.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Aha, we are even.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Why don't we attempt our own translations? Get out your dictionary.

Pilar Aranda said...

She's my great-great-grandfather sister. I'm so proud of my family :)