lapidary apothegms

pithy sayings (apothegms) that should be written in stone (lapidary)

always have a good little black dress & pearls

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Ottilie Ethel Leopoldine “Tilly” Losch (1907-75) – Austrian-born dancer, actress, painter (Albert C. Barnes bought one of her works), & femme fatale. Married Edward James, eccentric poet, collector, & patron of surrealists Dalí & Magritte, who founded a ballet company specifically for her. James would later file for divorce on the grounds that Losch had committed adultery with hotel executive Prince Serge Obelensky, to which Losch launched a failed countersuit stating that Edward was a homosexual.


Written by Dan

July 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Great quote from the delicious Tilly Losch, with a lush pic of Miss Hepburn. My own favourite Tilly quote is “ In France, the relationship between the sexes is shown by the way they walk down the aisle in a theatre the man always goes first. In England they go side by side, but in America the man follows the woman like a puppy.” Visitors to your blog may be interested in a new book that includes some detailed coverage on Tilly Losch from cradle to grave. Of course she was briefly the Sixth Countess of Carnarvon, [ read Downton Abbey]. This status giving rise to another famous Tilly quote “ My role of ballerina comes first. Second is my work as a choreographer. My acting comes third, my painting fourth, I rate my role as Lady Carnarvon fifth in importance simply because I can’t think of anything interesting to put after painting.” My new book ” Catherine and Tilly: Porchey Carnarvon’s Two Duped Wives. The Tragic Tales of the Sixth Countesses of Carnarvon” is now available, via Amazon. To me Tilly Losch was a great dancer, an alluring actress, an icon of the Twentieth Century, a sort of wonder woman with the combined force of Garbo, Monroe, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Kind Regards, William Cross, FSA Scot.

    William Cross

    November 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

  2. thanks for the update – I’ll look for your book! (now I have to research what painting Barnes purchased)


    November 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  3. In 1943 Tilly sold her picture “Creek” to Barnes. Creek is described as ” a small painting of two dancing girls in sweeping skirts, one red, one blue, beside a pastoral stream in a green landscape” It is part of the Alfred ( Argyrol ) Barnes Foundation/ Collection, link for image, below:

    There a reference to the purchase in Time Magazine ( 1944). It is recorded that Tilly remarked “”You must have somebody who believes in you,” Mr Barnes followed in the footsteps of Cathleen Mann and John Spencer Churchill ( both noted British artists ) who gave a boost to Tilly’s morale in showing an interest and encouragement to her paintings and art.



    William Cross

    November 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

  4. I’ll be going to the Barnes tomorrow. They’re a bit gnostic with their information on the collection. At least I can try to find out in which gallery the painting is located (Barnes’ collection is not chronologically ordered, but based on what he referred to as “plastic elements” [i.e., formal elements of line, color, shape & space], so the adjacent paintings tend to be ciphers; and something about its provenance (e.g., who was the dealer who sold the Creek to Barnes, etc). Dan


    December 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

  5. Curator who handles relative information was not available; so the only info on “Creek” I obtained was that it was purchased from an exhibition at the Bignou Gallery, New York on May 24, 1944 for $180,000 (Barnes Foundation Ledger P-Z 1922-1950). It keeps company with several Matisses, a Picasso, Rousseau & a Renoir, in Gallery 23 [works at the Barnes are hung not according to chronology or schools, but by formalist elements, i.e., light, line, color, space] Dan


    December 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  6. That’s really interesting Dan, thanks. The press reports for Tilly’s exhibition at the Bignou Galleries suggest her paintings were marked for sale from $75 to $250. I assume Barnes paid $180 ( not sure about the rest of these 0 digits!!!!). The English actress Constance Collier was one of those “ praising Tilly’s paintings to the sky”. By 1947 Tilly’s paintings had been acquired at slightly higher prices by a number of museums and collections. She was at her height by around 1960 with something like ten one-woman shows behind her and a devoted following. In 1971, one of Tilly’s pictures “ Three Nuns” was part of a art tour ( love the idea of that ) organised by Bucks County. In the collection of one time dancer, Ruth Randall ( Mrs Randall Hanna wife of Dan R Hanna) of Arizona Inn “ a Chippendale cabinet is hand painted by artist Angelica Kaufman “ rested alongside an oil by dancer Tilly Losch, mounted on one wall. Tilly would have dearly loved being admired for her art alone. Regards, Will

    William Cross

    December 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

  7. mea culpa – kinda funny that I didn’t catch the misplaced decimal point – I think that would have been the highest price Barnes had ever paid for any painting! what a hoot!


    December 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

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