Friday, February 2, 2018

Palm Beach Social Diary

Diann Scaravilli, advisory board chairman for Friends of the Uffizi, and Contessa Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti, founder and president of the American Friends of the Uffizi and Florence’s Amici degli Uffizi, welcomed members and guests to a reception at the historic Ballroom House on Palm Beach in support of the Uffizi Galleries, among the world’s great museums.
Four Arts opens Fashioning Paper exhibition + Friends of the Uffizi Galleries reception
By Augustus Mayhew

Palm Beach’s golf courses and tennis courts, its bridge tables and yoga mats, are SRO. Social calendars are round-the-clock Louboutin and Veuve Clicquot. Tesla owners have Superchargers at the ready to keep up with this season’s whirl of sport and social affairs. During the next several weeks Palm Beach’s cultural venues are offering a variety of programs, diversions from presidential motorcades and roadblocks, small plate menus, and the unrestrained double-parkers on Worth Avenue.

Headlining in PB soon: Brian Williams, Duchess of Rutland, James B. Stewart, and Lama Migmar.
On February 12 at the Palm Beach Civic Association’s annual awards luncheon at The Breakers, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams is the headliner. At The Society of the Four Arts, the Garden Club of Palm Beach has booked the inimitable Duchess of Rutland. The O’Keeffe Lecture Series is presenting James B. StewartDavid Ignatius, and Linda Fairstein. The Coudert Institute’s stimulating mix will feature Harvard’s resident Buddhist chaplain Lama Migmar.

Certainly, the Coudert’s seasonal highlight happens on February 23 at 11:00 am when New York Social Diary co-founders Jeffrey Hirsch and David Patrick Columbia explore/discuss/translate the Palm Beach-New York social-media-philanthropy axis with all of its past and present cultural politics and indulgencies at a buffet luncheon at the Sailfish Club. Plan on joining this timely conversation as reservations for the event are available at the Coudert Institute.

In November, the New York Landmarks Conservancy honored Columbia as one of its esteemed Living Landmarks. Hirsch and Columbia are celebrating NYSD’s 18th year online and are looking forward to engaging their Palm Beach readers. Along with NYSD, Columbia is the current editor of Quest magazine. DPC has been on the front lines of the social and cultural world for more than 25 years.

Much like my surprise last month at The Society of the Four Arts, when I mistakenly presumed Winston Churchill was only a “weekend painter” only to find he was as much a superb artist as he was an astute politician, my experience at Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Fashioning Art from Paper exhibition far exceeded my expectations. This season’s main showcase at the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery, I was captivated by de Borchgrave’s historical interpretations as works of art. The exhibit’s Splendor of the Medici tableau makes for an introduction to the recent Friends of the Uffizi Galleries annual Palm Beach reception, celebrating the Medici museums in Florence. Small world, Palm Beach.

January 27, 2018
Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper
Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery – The Society of the Four Arts
January 27, 2018 - April 19, 2018
Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Rive Gauche fashion sense complements her supernatural Papiers á la Mode, a spellbinding tour de force “at the intersection of art, history and fashion … that reveals her unique approach to color, trompe l’oeil and interpretation.” Above, de Borchgrave is photographed with one of her paper sculptures inspired by the Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorrency, Princess of Condè, c.1620, by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. Painting courtesy Frick Art and Historical Center.
Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorrency, Princess of Condè, c.1620, by Peter Paul Rubens. 
DeBorchgrave made her first paper dresses following a visit to The Met’s Costume Institute in 1994.
Four Arts president and CEO David Breneman with  William De Baets, consul general of the Kingdom of Belgium.
Giselle Anna Parry and Sigrid van Eck.
Trained at the Académie de Royale Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Isabelle held a press preview where she shared the intricacies of how she transforms paper, paint, and glue constructions into objet d’art.
The exhibition provided guests with an added dimension to their fashion fervor and appreciation for the past, especially considering Palm Beach’s deregulated adaptations of Old World architectural styles.
“From the beginning, de Borchgrave’s vision was to do the sculptures in the spirit of the originals, not exacting copies.”
Les Ballets Russes
Les Ballets Russe’s L’art Moderne costumes and tutus inspired this ensemble.
A paper sculpture modeled from a de Chirico designed costume. Les Ballets Russe.
Stephanie and Joel Daves.
Dotsy Letts and Sophy Letts.
The Blue God, 2009. After a costume designed by Leon Bakst for Diaghilev’s The Blue God, 1912. Bakst was “largely inspired by Cambodian motifs …”
Stephania Conrad with Judy and Dr. Stuart Hershon.
Les Ballets Russe, view from the Addison Mizner-designed fireplace and Mizner Industries andirons.
Les Ballets Russe.
Les Ballets Russe, detail.
Splendor of the Medici
Splendor of the Medici.
Lorenzo il Magnifico.
 Lorenzo il Magnifico, detail.
Nancy Mendel and Kaki Martin.
Lynn McAtee and Donna Plasket.
January 29, 2018
Friends of the Uffizi Galleries Reception
Ballroom House – Palm Beach
Guests gathered in the ballroom-living room.
Madeleine Parker hosted the reception. Madeleine has lived at The Ballroom House since 2002, acquired from Christopher and Louise Lewinton who had bought the house from David and Hillie Mahoney.
The Ballroom House
The Duke-Bache House, as I call it, was first christened La Colmena (Spanishthe hive) by Jules Bache. The Addison Mizner-designed 45-foot living room is regarded as all that remains of the original 1923 floor plan. Designed for Angier Buchanan Duke in 1923, Duke died in a drowning accident before the house was finished. At the time, Duke’s marriage to Cordelia Biddle had ended. Duke’s estate sold the house to financier-art collector Jules Bache. In March 1944, Bache died at Palm Beach. Many pieces from Bache’s art collection housed at La Colmena were gifted to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1947, La Colmena was sold by Bache’s estate.
Angier Buchanan Duke house, 1923 floor plan. Addison Mizner, architect, In September 1923, Duke drowned when he fell overboard from his yacht’s dinghy, according to official published reports. The house was  subject to additions and alterations by architects Howard Major, John Volk, and others. Courtesy Historical Society of Palm Beach County architectural archives as adapted for illustration in Donald W. Curl’s book Mizner’s Florida published by MIT Press in 1984.
The 1915 Biddle-Duke wedding not only resulted in a melee but also a social double knot, as the groom’s sister Mary Duke announced her engagement to the bride’s brother A. J. Drexel Biddle. Library of Congress, Chronicling America.
March 1923. Several months before Angier Duke fell off a dinghy and drowned off the coast of Greenwich, news stories reported he fell between two private railroad cars and sustained injuries. Library of Congress, Chronicling America.
March 1924. Cordelia Biddle Duke remarried six months after her ex-husband’s death. Associated PressLibrary of Congress, Chronicling America.
Ballroom House Reception – 2018
Edward and Maryanne Petrosky.
K. K. and Joe Sullivan.
David Miller and Ray Wakefield.
Ginger Richard and Meredith Townsend.
John and Susan Connor.
Guests enjoyed an array of hors d’oeuvres from Madeleine Parker’s recipes.
Judy Oppel.
Bill Jennings and Michael Triggs.
Dale Coudert.
C. J. van Hoek and Roger Ward.
Following the cocktail hour, Contessa Rimbotti brought guests up to date on The Uffizi Galleries. Since she founded the Florentine organization in 1993 (the US association formed in 2006), the group has funded 42 restorations of major artworks. Currently, funds are sought for the refurbishment of the 16th-century Valois Tapestries.
Moon over Palm Beach.
For further information contact: Friends of the Uffizi Galleries
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur