Paying tribute to beauty

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Dinner on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater to celebrate the American Ballet Theatre’s 2019 Spring Gala. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Sunny and very warm, yesterday in New York, with temperatures reaching up to the high 80s, leaving us with a moderate 72 degrees an hour before midnight.

Walking the dogs about 9:30 in the morning, down along the Promenade by the river, it was already very warm in a heavy way. Looking down the East River you could see the air was thicker.

The green of spring leaves outside my window.

Mr. and Mrs Charles B. Wrightsman pictured at the Everglades Club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1960s (Photo by Bert Morgan/Getty Images)

I was at my desk all day working on a piece for next month’s Quest on Jayne Wrightsman and Terry Allen Kramer, two prominent New York women who died within a couple of weeks of each other this past month. The editorial emphasis was on what Money meant in their lives. There were great differences between the two. Wrightsman was fifteen years older and died only months from her 100th birthday.

Terry’s money came from her father. Wrightsman’s from her late husband. Their relationships to their money was different but similar in that it was spent to please oneself. 

The subject was really how women handle big money. The most interesting are always natural heiresses who inherit family fortunes and live like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve known several of them in my now long life. The most interesting – not withstanding the Mesdames Wrightsman and Kramer – are the girls who bear a resentment toward it.

Terry Allen Kramer.

The late Bettina Bancroft whose inherited fortune came from the Dow Jones / Wall Street Journal was one of those girls. When she was informed as a young girl of her massive inheritance she saw it only as a terrible burden. She wanted to just give it all away. She was persuaded otherwise, and she lived with it unostentatiously. 

The late Johnny Galliher once told me a story of Barbara Hutton coming to his apartment in Paris for dinner. She arrived wearing a brand new ermine coat and hat. One of the women guests complimented her on her hat. Barbara took it off and told the woman to try it on. She did. Barbara told her she looked wonderful wearing it and gave it to her on the spot. The woman tried to return it but Barbara didn’t care. She liked the experience of giving it to someone and pleasing them.

The ladies of my subject seemed to have a more realistic attitude about their great fortunes. Both happened to be sensible, practical women who liked having what they had. They both had a taste for the power of money.

Last night was the American Ballet Theatre’s 2019 Spring Gala. They paid tribute to the 10th Anniversary year of Alexei Ratmansky as ABT Artist in Residence. To celebrate, the evening presented the World Premiere of The Seasons by Ratmansky, set to the score of Alexander Glazounov, with sets and costumes designed by Robert Perdziola. It was an explosion of color and movement; and a big hit. And the perfect way for Ratmansky to his declare his  love and expression of gratitude to ABT and its dancers. What a gift, indeed!

The evening honored Andrew Barth, Chair, Board of Trustees, for his exemplary leadership.  The gala evening was chaired by Emily and Len Blavatnik, Pamela and David Ford, Elizabeth Segerstrom, and Sutton Stracke. The presenting sponsor was Harry Winston.

Christine Shevchenko and Stella Abrera thanking the evening’s honoree, Andrew Barth, with a little help from some confectionary characters from Whipped Cream.
Devon Teuscher and her fellow male dancers taking their bows after Serenade After Plato’s Symposium.
The final pose of the World Premiere of The Seasons by Ratmansky.
Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside thanking the crowd …
Conductor Ormsby Wilkins takes his bows …
And acknowledges the orchestra.
Ratmansky salutes his dancers and the crowd.
Ratmansky is joined by lighting designer Mark Stanley and costume designer Robert Perdziola.
ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie presenting a bouquet to Ratmansky.
The final bow.

This is always a great event. Most of the guests have an appreciation of the ballet, the dance. The younger generation of men are now more receptive to the dance because it has been changing, also. The evening is formal – black tie; women in long dresses – with a performance on stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, followed by dinner and dancing on the Promenade of the David Koch Theater. And beautiful evening weather to accommodate it. JH and his wife Danielle were there, and they loved it. What’s there not to love?

Guests exiting the Metropolitan Opera House en route to dinner on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater.
The view from the promenade terrace to the Josie Robertson Plaza below.
Guests taking their seats for dinner.
At 10:30, the dance floor was jammed.
Exiting Lincoln Center, 10:45 PM.

More sparkle. On a Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, The Store at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) hosted a VIP cocktail and shopping event to premiere its 6th seasonal edition of RE:FINE. RE-FINE is a highly curated showcase of 19 international artists offering a refreshing alternative to the conventional world of fine jewelry. 

During the event, artists were on hand to present their work to guests. RE:FINE Holiday 2018’s hosts were Michele Cohen, Mike De Paola, Marcia Docter, Joan Hornig, Barbara Tober, and Andi Potamkin.

Cocktails and shopping at RE:FINE at MAD.

Formerly known as Redefining Fine Jewelry, RE:FINE spotlights artists whose jewelry reflects the ethos of MAD’s mission to present work at the intersection of art, craft, and design. The jewelers featured in RE:FINE Holiday 2018 infuse design with excellence in craftsmanship, incorporating innovative techniques along with the highest quality precious metals and non-traditional gemstones. Their work is shaping the tastes of today’s jewelry collectors.

This season’s collection features, for the first time, Disa Allsopp, Heather Guidero, Laurie Kaiser, and Suzy Landa. The returning artists are Agas & Tamar, Stephanie Albertson, Lika Behar, Cevherun, Petra Class, Emanuela Duca, Elizabeth Garvin, Estella Guitart, Joan Hornig, Anthony Lent, Tony Malmed, Margoni, Marian Maurer, Todd Pownell, and Ana Swarup. 

Proceeds from purchases support the Museum’s exhibitions and educational programs. For more information visit:

Barbara Tober and Franci Sagar.
Rita Roffe and Franci Sagar.
Tony Malmed and Lika Behar.
Anna Swarup and Florence Foreman.
Bonnie Eisler and Susan Och.
Franci Sagar, Beth Bernstein, and Sophie Sagar.
Judy Bundick, Beverley With, and Chris With.
Rebekka Grossman, Bonnie Korn, and Edy Nadler.
L. to r.: Stephanie Lang; Tsungwei Moo.
Noa Samelson and Anat Gelbard.
Owen Maher and Sophie Sagar.
Tony Malmed and Marcia Docter.
Trying On Jewelry …
MAD’s 2019 REFINE Jewelry Artists.
MAD’s 2019 REFINE Staff.

Photographs by Annie Watt (MAD).

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