Thursday, November 4, 2010

San Francisco Social Diary

Maria Callas with Marilyn Monroe. The San Francisco Italian Institute of Culture held a gala to open its exhibition about Callas, “A Woman, a Voice, a Myth.” The exhibit, which had previously been in Los Angeles, will next go to New York City.
by Jeanne Lawrence

SAN FRANCISCO. Over 800 major donors attended the opening party at the de Young Museum of the post-Impressionist show from the Musée d'Orsay, on view until January 11. The Birth of Impressionism, also from the Musée d’Orsay, had just closed and was a big success.

Opening of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond:  Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The Birth of Impressionism, also from the Musée d’Orsay, had just closed.
It’s remarkable that San Francisco had this opportunity to be the only museum in the world to host two consecutive exhibits from the Musée d’Orsay, and the only one in North America to host the Post-Impressionist show.

The back story is that de Young Director John Buchanan was Paris in 2009 for the Christie’s auction of the private collection of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berger (which reaped $464 million!).

John ran into his good friend, Guy Cogeval, who had been named president of the Musée d’Orsay. Guy mentioned that the museum was closing its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries for renovation and reinstallation for two years.

Would San Francisco be interested in hosting the traveling show? You bet!

“That opportunity was beyond my wildest dreams,” Buchanan said. “For my entire professional career, I had worked for such a moment.”

Everyone loves the de Young so much they feel proprietary about it. As the evening was drawing to a close, I even overheard the bartender offering his advice. “What we need next is a Matisse show.” (What do you say, Mr. Buchanan?)
De Young Director John Buchanan, Lucy Buchanan, and Orsay President Guy Cogeval. The de Young has become the fifth most popular art museum in the U.S. and the sixteenth in the world. More than 8 million visitors have come since it reopened five years ago.
Janet Lamkin, Guy Cogeval, Board President Dede Wilsey, and John Buchanan.
Situated on the Left Bank of the Seine River in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the Musée d’Orsay was formerly a 1900 railroad station and turned into a museum by Italian architect Gae Aulenti. The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries are closed for two years for renovation.
Elizabeth Stark, Andrew Stark, Brighton Miller, Deirdre Hessey, Jessica Smith, and David Bates. Zach Bogue and Marissa Mayer.
David Chung and Kate Sheridan Chung with Kathryn and Bo Lasater.
John Buchanan, Lonna Wais, and Guy Cogeval. Guillaume Orliac and Linda Zider.
Guy Cogeval, Paul Sednaoui with newlyweds Sara and Austin Hills.
Frenchmen Adrien Meyer and Guillaume Orliac. Christie’s Impressionist expert Adrien Meyer (who has relocated from Paris to New York) said, “You’ll re-discover these paintings in this setting.”
Dennis Bonney and Harriet Quarre. Sandra Farris and Hart Launder.
Marian Store, Gerard Store, and Lucy Buchanan.
Athena and Timothy Blackburn. Diane and Matthew Kelly.
Xavier Rey, Philippe Thiebaut, Sylvie Patrice, Dr. Lynn Federle Orr, Jullian Cox, and Stephane Guegan.
Brenda and George Jewett with Lucy Jewett.
Greg and Charlot Malin with Mai Shiver and Michael Mulcahy.
Mini-burgers and other bite-sized pleasures for guests at the buffet—and maxi-pleasures in the ten galleries downstairs, where 120 paintings were on display.

Thirty-three years after her death, Maria Callas still fascinates, not only for her spectacular operatic talent but also for her very public personal tragedy. Her long-time lover Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate, abandoned the stunning “La Divina” to marry Jackie Kennedy.

The San Francisco Italian Institute of Culture held a gala to open its exhibition about Callas. “A Woman, a Voice, a Myth” included memorabilia and artifacts associated with the diva that were collected by Venetian Bruno Tosi, a former opera manager.
The exhibit, which had previously been in Los Angeles, will next go to New York City.
The San Francisco Italian Institute of Culture held a gala to open its exhibition about Maria Callas— “A Woman, a Voice, a Myth.” Bruno Tosi amassed the Callas collection. On display are 22 costumes, jewels, photographs and memorabilia, curated by Terse Arnesen and New Yorker Antonio Pio Saracino.
“Callas’s life was juicy, controversial, scandalous — you couldn’t make that stuff up,” said publicist Judy Helm, who did much of the research.
Many people don’t realize Callas was born in New York, though her parents took her back home to Greece as a child. She was christened Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou — a surname her father eventually shortened. Maria Callas with Princess Grace of Monaco, 1964.
Once an overweight, unattractive, myopic “ugly duckling,” Callas transformed herself into a great beauty and sang 157 much-praised performances in the decade before her death, at 53, in l977.
Bruno Tosi, Judy Holm, and Jon Finck. A former manager of opera singer Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas’ one-time arch-rival, Tosi was so taken with Callas that he assembled a collection of artifacts related to her.
Italy’s Consul General Fabrizio Marcelli (on left) and Greece’s Consul General Ioannis Andreades co-sponsored the exhibit opening and hosted a cocktail party and Greek-Italian buffet chaired by Romana Bracco.
Chair Romana Bracco, Antonio Pio Saracino, and Judy Holm.
Lori Shigekane, Antonio Pio Saracino, Judy Holm, David Costello, and Luca Matureli.
Marios Belibassakis and Fabrizio Marcelli (Consul General of Italy). More supporters – What’s your guess – Greek or Italian?
Lois Lehrman, Elisabeth Thieriot, Amelia Carpenito Antonucci, and chair Romana Bracco.
Vicki Liviakis and Roberta Economidis. Marybeth La Motte and Samantha Ferro. Marybeth La Motte and I stopped to watch the installation of the show the day before. We met Venetian Bruno Tosi, the passionate collector and archiver of the great diva and enjoyed his fascinating stories.
Charlene Brigniole, Maria Tira, and Joseph Brigniole.
The soprano Felicia Bongiovanni performed a tribute to Maria Callas, accompanied on the piano by Ian Scarfe of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with some of the most famous arias of La Divina’s repertoire.

Maharaja literally means “great king,” and the Asian Art Museum show, “The Splendor’s of Indian’s Royal Courts,” which opened with a Gala on October 19, highlighted the wealth, splendor, and richness of their world.

“I’m thrilled to see your enthusiasm for the Maharaja Gala,” Pamela Joyner said as she toasted the board friends and supporters. “We’ll make the English look like poor cousins when they meet up with us,” she quipped. (The exhibition is currently showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.)
Riccardo Benavides carried out the Maharajah theme everywhere, down to the hand embroidery and beading on the table. Benavides, who will design the January San Francisco Ballet Gala, “La Belle Époque,” was in Paris looking for ideas with décor chair Kathy Huber.
Former Chairman Dixon Doll passed his gavel to incoming Chairman Tony Sun: “Tony, you’ll have more fun that you can imagine.” Noting that Dixon has planned to mentor Tony, Museum Director Jay Xu said, “It’s like family coming together.”
And, Shanghai-born Museum Director Jay Xu (who worked at the Shanghai Museum) is off to China in October with his museum group. With his connections and knowledge, he has packed the itinerary with an in-depth view of the art world that most mortals will never see.

When I meet the group in Shanghai, we’ll share those delicious local specialties, Xiao Long Bao dumplings.
Keith Scott and Phil Pemberton. Pamela Joyner and Deepa Pakianathan. Pamela was already in the mood for the show, wearing a sheath by Indian designer Naeem Khan, known for his ornate, handmade fabrics. She and Tatiana, couture lovers, were off to Paris for Fashion week, no doubt hunting the perfect Gala gowns.
Chairman Tony Sun, Gala chairs Pamela Joyner, Kumar Malavalli and Tatiana Sorokko, and Director Jay Xu.
Cartier’s Keith Scott and Co-Chair Tatiana Sorokko. She hinted about some of the items that will be on display: couture saris, a custom Rolls-Royce, and a necklace with stones that sparkle a mile away. Tanya Peterson and Deepa Pakianathan.
Tim Foo, Fran Streets and Virginia Foo.
Sako Fisher and Judy Wilbur, board member. Goretti Lui, Dean Cash, and Jeanne Lawrence.
AAM Director Jay Xu, Chairman Tony Sun, with Board members Judy Wilbur, and Dixon Doll.
Serge Sorokko and Jennifer Biederbeck. Rosina Sun, Virginia Foo, and Goretti Lui. Rosina is the wife of Tony Sun. Her sister, Goretti Liu, chaired the museum’s last gala, Shanghai Celebration. Shanghai and San Francisco are sister cities.

Oliver Caldwell and his wife Karen, owners of Oliver Caldwell Cellars, hosted a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network event at his Caldwell Snyder art gallery to honor FAAN CEO Julia E. Bradsher and its newest board member Mireille Schwartz.
When her daughter, Charlotte Schwartz (now 10) was diagnosed with allergies, Mireille discovered that 20 percent of American children under 13 have some form. Soy, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, shellfish, regular fish, and wheat (known as “the big 8”) account for more than 90% of food allergies.
Alan Malouf with Karen Caldwell hosted a FAAN event at Caldwell Snyder Art Gallery. FAAN raises public awareness, provides advocacy and education, and promotes research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. FANN Honoree Mireille Schwartz, with Senator Mark Leno, is the daughter of Katiti Kironde, one of the first African supermodels, and granddaughter of Apollo Kironde, a long-term Ugandan ambassador to the United Nations.
Kathy and Brian Hom became activists after their severely allergic son died on a high school graduation trip after he unwittingly ate a dessert containing peanuts. Charlotte Schwartz with twins Gwynie and Paige Dunlevy.
FAAN activists Veronica Braun, Sheri Stellberg, CEO Julia Bradsher, and Robert York
Susan Dunlevy, Karen Caldwell, and Judge Karen Clopton. Beth Townsend and Mark Wagoner.
DJ Wunder & DJ Keltec. Chef Michael Woodward of Ross, CA prepared a menu designed to showcase allergen-free options.
Susan Snyder, Wilkes Bashford, and artist Melissa Chandon. Charleston Pierce and Joel Goodrich.
Photographs by Drew Altizer, Claudine Gossett, and Jeanne Lawrence. New York based Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in Shanghai and San Francisco, and wherever else she finds a good story.