T he marquise Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was one of the most extravagant, yet relatively unknown society figures from the beginning of last century. Patron and muse of several artists, she lived a life as legendary as her reputation.
She was a force of nature and made her mark on everyone she met, exerting a magnetism on her contemporaries. The marquise used the public realm as a theatre scene of a play where she was very much the star. Her every public appearance was a true show, since she wanted to be, as she said “a living work of art”.
This photograph taken in 1935 illustrates the last public appearance of Luisa Casati. It was during one of the famous costume balls hosted by Count and Countess Étienne de Beaumont, where “le Tout-Paris” used to rush, that Man Ray took the opportunity to take her portrait. Among the regular guests were Pablo Picasso, Tristan Tzara and Erik Satie.
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