Monday, 18 June 2018

TROUBLE in the Conceptual Art Paradise … ‘Famous urinal ‘Fountain’ is not by Marcel Duchamp’ / VIDEO: Duchamp, Fountain

After "this" … is just delicious to listen at the “smart” conversation in the VIDEO below …

The original Fountain by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven photographed by Alfred Stieglitz at the 291 (Art Gallery) after the 1917 Society of Independent Artists exhibit. Stieglitz used a backdrop of The Warriors by Marsden Hartley to photograph the urinal. The entry tag is clearly visible.
‘Famous urinal ‘Fountain’ is not by Marcel Duchamp’
Art history Art experts claim ‘Fountain’, the world famous piece of art, was created by German Dada artist Elsa von Freytag, not by Marcel Duchamp.

 Sandra Smallenburg
 14 juni 2018

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Dada artist and Marcel Duchamp’s friend, seen here posing as a model at the New York academy of art.
Foto Bettmann/Getty Images

Fountain, the famous urinal credited to Marcel Duchamp, is not by the famous French artist, according to four academics and historians in the latest edition of Dutch art magazine See All This.

Instead, the urinal, which dates from 1917, should be credited to German Dada artist, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the experts say.

The theory that a female artist rather than Duchamp is hiding behind the name R. Mutt – the signature on the urinal – has been doing the rounds in the art world for a longer period. And various academics have been trying to determine who is the real maker since 1982, when a letter by Duchamp popped up in which he denies any involvement. In 2002, academic Irene Gammel wrote in her biography of Baroness Elsa that Von Freytag-Loringhoven was at least partly responsible for the work.

In 2004, Fountain was described in the British press as „the most influential modern work of art ever”. The original urinal was probably lost in 1917 and is only known from a photograph. Replicas, authorized by Duchamp, can be found in some of the world’s most prominent museums, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London and the San Francisco MoMA.

Last year, however, new evidence emerged that indicates Von Freytag-Loringhoven rather than Duchamp dreamt up the urinal. Towards the end of his life, Duchamp circulated a story in which he claimed to have bought it in a sanitary fittings shop on Fifth Avenue in New York. That story turned out not to be true. In 1917, the address he gave was actually occupied by JL Mott Iron Works, which did not sell products.

British art historian Glyn Thompson was the first to track down a similar urinal to the original, in an old factory in St Louis. It had been made by Trenton Potteries Company in New Jersey. And according to the Mott company inventory, that particular type had never been sold in New York.

There is more indirect evidence which points to Baroness Elsa. When Fountain was submitted to an exhibition in New York, the label carried an address in Philadelphia, the city where Von Freytag-Loringhoven lived in spring 1917. Later that same year, the artist made another sculpture from a waste water pipe called God, which would appear to seamlessly fit the urinal.

Theo Paijmans, the author of the article in See All This, says all this evidence is overwhelming. „The letter, Duchamp’s weak arguments, the finding of a second urinal, the fact the original was sent from Philadelphia not New York – when I put everything together, I knew it. Elsa made Fountain.”

Paijmans says the myth Duchamp created is a „one big cover up” and „an old scandal that has to be revisited.” Now, with the #MeToo movement, the time is right for change, he says. „There is real momentum to put works by women in the spotlight again. It is high time that art history is rewritten and this mother of modern art is given the place in it that she deserves.”

Fountain (Duchamp)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The original Fountain by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven photographed by Alfred Stieglitz at the 291 (Art Gallery) after the 1917 Society of Independent Artists exhibit. Stieglitz used a backdrop of The Warriors by Marsden Hartley to photograph the urinal. The entry tag is clearly visible.
Fountain is a 1917 work produced by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. The piece was a porcelain urinal, which was signed "R.Mutt" and titled Fountain. Submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, in 1917, the first annual exhibition by the Society to be staged at The Grand Central Palace in New York, Fountain was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. Fountain was displayed and photographed at Alfred Stieglitz's studio, and the photo published in The Blind Man, but the original has been lost. The work is regarded by art historians and theorists of the avant-garde, such as Peter Bürger, as a major landmark in 20th-century art. Seventeen replicas commissioned from Duchamp in the 1960s now exist.

Marcel Duchamp arrived in the United States less than two years prior to the creation of Fountain and had become involved with Dada, an anti-rational, anti-art cultural movement, in New York City. According to one version, the creation of Fountain began when, accompanied by artist Joseph Stella and art collector Walter Arensberg, he purchased a standard Bedfordshire model urinal from the J. L. Mott Iron Works, 118 Fifth Avenue. The artist brought the urinal to his studio at 33 West 67th Street, reoriented it to a position 90 degrees from its normal position of use, and wrote on it, "R. Mutt 1917".

According to another version, Duchamp did not create Fountain, but rather assisted in submitting the piece to the Society of Independent Artists for a female friend. In a letter dated 11 April 1917 Duchamp wrote to his sister Suzanne telling her about the circumstances around Fountain's submission: "Une de mes amies sous un pseudonyme masculin, Richard Mutt, avait envoyé une pissotière en porcelaine comme sculpture" ("One of my female friends, who had adopted the male pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent me a porcelain urinal as a sculpture.") Duchamp never identified his female friend, but two candidates have been proposed: the Dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, whose scatological aesthetic echoed that of Duchamp, or Louise Norton, who contributed an essay to The Blind Man discussing Fountain. Norton, who recently had separated from her husband, was living at the time in an apartment owned by her parents at 110 West 88th Street in New York City, and this address is partially discernible (along with "Richard Mutt") on the paper entry ticket attached to the object, as seen in Stieglitz's photograph.

Rhonda Roland Shearer in the online journal Tout-Fait (2000) has concluded that the photograph is a composite of different photos, while other scholars such as William Camfield have never been able to match the urinal shown in the photo to any urinals found in the catalogues of the time period.

At the time Duchamp was a board member of the Society of Independent Artists. After much debate by the board members (most of whom did not know Duchamp had submitted it) about whether the piece was or was not art, Fountain was hidden from view during the show. Duchamp resigned from the Board in protest.

The New York Dadaists stirred controversy about Fountain and its being rejected in the second issue of The Blind Man which included a photo of the piece and a letter by Alfred Stieglitz, and writings by Beatrice Wood and Arensberg. The anonymous editorial (which is assumed to be written by Wood) accompanying the photograph, entitled "The Richard Mutt Case,"[14] made a claim that would prove to be important concerning certain works of art that would come after it:

Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.

In defense of the work being art, Wood also wrote, "The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges." Duchamp described his intent with the piece was to shift the focus of art from physical craft to intellectual interpretation.

Menno Hubregtse argues that Duchamp may have chosen Fountain as a readymade because it parodied Robert J. Coady's exaltation of industrial machines as pure forms of American art. Coady, who championed his call for American art in his publication The Soil, printed a scathing review of Jean Crotti's Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (Sculpture Made to Measure) in the December 1916 issue. Hubregtse notes that Duchamp's urinal may have been a clever response to Coady's comparison of Crotti's sculpture with "the absolute expression of a—plumber."

Shortly after its initial exhibition, Fountain was lost. According to Duchamp biographer Calvin Tomkins, the best guess is that it was thrown out as rubbish by Stieglitz, a common fate of Duchamp's early readymades.

The first reproduction of Fountain was authorized by Duchamp in 1950 for an exhibition in New York; two more individual pieces followed in 1953 and 1963, and then an artist's multiple was manufactured in an edition of eight in 1964. These editions ended up in a number of important public collections; Indiana University Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, Centre Georges Pompidou and Tate Modern. The edition of eight was manufactured from glazed earthenware painted to resemble the original porcelain, with a signature reproduced in black paint.

Of all the artworks in this series of readymades, Fountain is perhaps the best known because the symbolic meaning of the toilet takes the conceptual challenge posed by the readymades to their most visceral extreme. Similarly, philosopher Stephen Hicks argued that Duchamp, who was quite familiar with the history of European art, was obviously making a provocative statement with Fountain:

The artist is a not great creator—Duchamp went shopping at a plumbing store. The artwork is not a special object—it was mass-produced in a factory. The experience of art is not exciting and ennobling—at best it is puzzling and mostly leaves one with a sense of distaste. But over and above that, Duchamp did not select just any ready-made object to display. In selecting the urinal, his message was clear: Art is something you piss on.
Since the photograph taken by Stieglitz is the only image of the original sculpture, there are some interpretations of Fountain by looking not only at reproductions but this particular photograph. Tomkins notes that "it does not take much stretching of the imagination to see in the upside-down urinal's gently flowing curves the veiled head of a classic Renaissance madonna or a seated Buddha or, perhaps more to the point, one of Brâncuși's polished erotic forms."

Title of the work
The use of the word "Dada" for the art movement, the meaning (if any) and intention of both the piece and the signature "R. Mutt", are difficult to pin down precisely. It is not clear whether Duchamp or Freytag-Lorinhoven had in mind the German "Armut" (meaning "poverty"), or possibly "Urmutter" (meaning “great mother”). The name R. Mutt could also be a play on its commercial origins or on the famous comic strip of the time, Mutt and Jeff (making the urinal perhaps the first work of art based on a comic). In German, Armut means poverty, although Duchamp said the R stood for Richard, French slang for "moneybags", which makes Fountain a kind of scatological golden calf.

In December 2004, Duchamp's Fountain was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 selected British art world professionals. The Independent noted in a February 2008 article that with this single work, Duchamp invented conceptual art and "severed forever the traditional link between the artist's labour and the merit of the work".

Jerry Saltz wrote in The Village Voice in 2006:

Duchamp adamantly asserted that he wanted to "de-deify" the artist. The readymades provide a way around inflexible either-or aesthetic propositions. They represent a Copernican shift in art. Fountain is what's called an "acheropoietoi," [sic] an image not shaped by the hands of an artist. Fountain brings us into contact with an original that is still an original but that also exists in an altered philosophical and metaphysical state. It is a manifestation of the Kantian sublime: A work of art that transcends a form but that is also intelligible, an object that strikes down an idea while allowing it to spring up stronger.

The prices for replicas, editions, or works that have some ephemeral trace of Duchamp reached its peak with the purchase of one of the eight 1964 replicas of Fountain for $1.7 million at Sotheby's in November 1999.

Several performance artists have attempted to "contribute" to the piece by urinating in it. South African born artist Kendell Geers rose to international notoriety in 1993 when, at a show in Venice, he urinated into Fountain. Artist / musician Brian Eno declared successfully urinating in Fountain while exhibited in the MoMA in 1993. He admitted that it was only a technical triumph because he needed to urinate in a tube in advance so he could get the fluid through a gap between the protective glass. Swedish artist Björn Kjelltoft urinated in Fountain at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1999.

In spring 2000, Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi, two performance artists, who in 1999 had jumped on Tracey Emin's installation-sculpture My Bed in the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain, went to the newly opened Tate Modern and tried to urinate on the Fountain which was on display. However, they were prevented from soiling the sculpture directly by its Perspex case. The Tate, which denied that the duo had succeeded in urinating into the sculpture itself, banned them from the premises stating that they were threatening "works of art and our staff." When asked why they felt they had to add to Duchamp's work, Chai said, "The urinal is there – it's an invitation. As Duchamp said himself, it's the artist's choice. He chooses what is art. We just added to it."

On January 4, 2006, while on display in the Dada show in the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Fountain was attacked by Pierre Pinoncelli, a 76-year-old  French performance artist, with a hammer causing a slight chip. Pinoncelli, who was arrested, said the attack was a work of performance art that Marcel Duchamp himself would have appreciated. In 1993 Pinoncelli urinated into the piece while it was on display in Nimes, in southern France. Both of Pinoncelli's performances derive from neo-Dadaists' and Viennese Actionists' intervention or manoeuvre.

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917/1964, porcelain urinal,
paint, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Speakers:  Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker.
Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.

Friday, 15 June 2018

MY GENERATION Michael Caine / VIDEO: Q&A | BFI London Film Festival 2017

My Generation review – Michael Caine on what the 1960s were all about
3 / 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars.    
Twiggy, Joan Collins and Paul McCartney reminisce with the Alfie actor about a decade of smiley hippies and grumpy people in bowler hats

Peter Bradshaw
Fri 16 Mar 2018 06.00 GMT Last modified on Fri 16 Mar 2018 09.15 GMT

The enduring mystery of what Michael Caine is thinking and feeling remains intact during his watchable, if somewhat exasperating docu-reminiscence of 1960s swinging London. It certainly doesn’t say anything revealing or new about the man itself. With many images of smiley hippies and apoplectic people in bowler hats, the film is narrated by Caine in his inimitably measured and inscrutably deadpan style: the script is evidently the work of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais whose 60s TV classic The Likely Lads sadly goes unmentioned.

David Bailey, Joan Collins, Sandie Shaw, Twiggy and Paul McCartney are interviewed here by Caine, though oddly and disappointingly off camera, their voices the accompaniment to old footage. Caine has said that he didn’t want the audience distracted by these faces all looking shockingly older. Well, it is a shame to diminish these people’s actual presence in the film, though there are some extraordinary archive moments here, and the film is all but stolen by the young and breathtakingly beautiful Joanna Lumley talking about how hilarious it is to work with the photographer Duffy.

The welfare state, a growing economy, free education and the pill created the conditions for postwar freedom and anti-establishment irreverence, a cultural aftershock to the Attlee victory of 1945. And these pop singers, hairdressers, photographers and movie stars had ideas above their station, promoted to a dizzyingly exciting central position in popular culture. It was a working-class, or at any rate middle-classless movement. Caine does not, however, mention that he and these other fortunate celebrities were unrepresentative. For most people outside London and indeed inside London, 60s life actually trudged on as it had done in the 50s and 40s.

Anyway, they were Caine’s “generation”, although they were mostly a bit younger than Caine, who was in his early 30s when he found stardom in Zulu and Alfie. Caine had come up from the East End though hard graft; he’d consolidated a strong work ethic in rep and avoided the drug experiments and live-fast-die-young affectations of many pop stars and associated media celebrities, who had perhaps covertly modified a posh person’s dilettante attitude, having money and contacts to fall back on.

My Generation is mostly about rock stars: Jagger, Lennon, McCartney, Daltrey, Burdon. (Sadly, Cliff Richard is evidently not considered weighty enough to be interviewed.) There is also some entertaining material about pop art and what they did to help drearily monochrome, pea-soupy London get to be more colourful. There is oddly little about cinema in Caine’s documentary. The posh voices of Brief Encounter are teased; there are some clips of Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job and bits of Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay – but nothing from Antonioni’s Blow Up. Similarly, nothing much about TV and theatre, and nothing about that quintessential standard-bearer of the irreverent 60s: David Frost.

Interestingly, literature had gone through what passed for its own revolution the decade before with Colin Wilson, Kingsley Amis and the angry young men. A dismayingly pompous Anthony Burgess blathers on about how “youth considers itself wise like a drunk man thinking himself sober”. Stuart Hall gets a tiny cameo talking about what the new currents in youth culture meant, but there’s nothing here about the whiteness of swinging London. Caine talks cheerfully about “birds”, an expression for which he apologises to the “ladies”.

Without entirely intending it, the film shows that the one institution in British life that remained stuffy and staid was the press. There’s a glimpse of a newspaper hoarding, advertising a warning about hippies by Billy Graham, written by that hungry young journalist Jonathan Aitken.

My Generation valuably reminds us that many people of the older generation really were very, very cross about the upstart counter-jumpers of the 60s revolution. There were grumpy gents and tetchy twinset ladies who were interviewed on TV and they didn’t realise or mind how absurd they sounded. It wasn’t just cultural or political. It was the age-old envy and hate of the old for the young. Nowadays people conceal it more carefully and make satirical jibes about “millennials”. Replace that phrase with “young people” and today’s droll commentators sound an awful lot like the purple-faced types who demanded that Mick Jagger got his hair cut and did some national service

Michael Caine: ‘What ruined the 60s was drugs’
By Michael Hogan

Michael Caine
The New Review Q&A
As his documentary about the 1960s opens, the veteran actor talks working-class culture, Woody Allen and why he never liked drugs
Sat 10 Mar 2018 17.00 GMT Last modified on Wed 21 Mar 2018 23.48 GMT

Now 84, Michael Caine has appeared in 127 films, including Zulu, Alfie and The Italian Job, and been Oscar-nominated six times, winning twice. Caine is the narrator, co-producer and star of new documentary film My Generation, about his journey through 1960s London.

What inspired you to make My Generation?
Simon Fuller [Spice Girls/Pop Idol svengali] and I are friends, and over dinner, conversation kept coming round to the 60s. He was too young, so was always asking about it. One evening he said, “Let’s make a documentary. You can tell the stories and I’ll find the music.” It’s taken a few years, but that’s what we did. I have a very good memory, which is fortunate at my age, so there’s a lot of material left over. We’re turning that into a six-part TV series.

The film is studded with star names, but they don’t appear in traditional “talking heads” style. Why?
I interviewed loads of people – McCartney, Twiggy, Roger Daltrey, Joan Collins – but we ended up taking the footage out of the film. It screwed it up, because you’re no longer immersed in the 60s, you’re too busy going “Oh look, he’s gone bald,” or “Ain’t she got fat?” So you only hear their voices; we’ll use the footage in the TV series instead.

I thought the saying went “If you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there”?
That’s more the late 60s/early 70s. In the 60s, we were drinkers. What ruined the 60s, towards the end of the decade, were drugs. If people were taking cocaine, they’d start talking bollocks and not stop for hours. If they were on other drugs, they’d just sit around, going “Wow, man.” So it was either people talking too fast to understand, or people not saying anything at all. It brought to an end the 60s as we knew it – which was a load of drunks getting up to all sorts and dancing like mad.

Is it true you smoked marijuana just the once?
Yes, and I laughed for five hours. I nearly got a hernia. I must have been very tense beforehand! When I left the party at 1am in Grosvenor Square, I was standing alone on a corner, roaring with laughter, and no cab would stop for me. I had to walk to my flat in Notting Hill, and when I got back, I vowed I’d never take bloody drugs again. And I never did. I’m not anti-drugs: I’m sympathetic to people who take them, because they’ve got themselves in a situation that I really do not envy. Most drugs are terrible… at least marijuana’s good for medicinal purposes.

You permanently had a fag in your mouth during the 60s, though…
I smoked a lot, but Tony Curtis saved my life. I was at a party, chain-smoking by the fireplace, when a hand came round from behind me, took the cigarettes out of my pocket and threw them in the fire. I turned round and it was Tony Curtis. We’d never met, but he said: “I’ve been watching you, Michael. You’re going to die if you keep doing that, you idiot.” So I quit.

I later took up cigars, but gave them up because of Hurricane Higgins, the snooker player. I knew Alex quite well, and one night I was smoking a cigar while watching TV. Alex came on the screen with a voice-box and I could see he was dying. I stubbed the cigar out in the ashtray and never smoked again.

In the documentary you sometimes seem like the more senior, sensible one…
Well, I was a serious actor. I’d spent nine years on stage and worked my way up to leading roles in movies. I’d be up at 6.30am for a day’s worth of dialogue, so I couldn’t stay up all night, dancing and getting laid. Don’t worry, though… between films I’d go a bit mad.

My Generation has a 50/50 gender split of contributors. Did you insist on that?
Absolutely. I’m a feminist to the core. An interviewer once asked my wife, “What first attracted you to Michael?” and she said, “The way he treated his mother.” I respected women tremendously, right from the start. I just didn’t know I was a feminist until they invented it.

 The first night I went to the Ad Lib club every single Beatle and every single Rolling Stone was in there dancing
Michael Caine

Social change is a big theme in My Generation…
That’s the serious point of the film, really. Society was transformed by the 60s. I was born during the Depression, then came the Blitz. I was evacuated and spent six years waiting for a telegram telling me my dad was dead. A tough start. Six years after the war, I was in the army myself – first in the occupation force in Berlin, then the Korean war, fighting the Chinese. When I got home, London was all smog and rationing. The last straw was [Soviet leader] Khrushchev’s speech saying they now had the atom bomb and could send it here in a rocket to annihilate us within four minutes. So the attitude became: “We’re miserable as sin, we’ve got four minutes to live, let’s have some fun.” And boy, did we have fun.

Was there a working-class takeover of culture?
Yeah, slowly but surely. Small things happened: Radio Caroline launched, before the BBC finally gave in and started playing pop music. Coffee bars started putting on live groups, like the Beatles. Discotheques arrived from Paris. The first night I went to the Ad Lib club – run by my friend Johnny Gold, who later opened Tramp and called me “Disco Mike” – every single Beatle and every single Rolling Stone was in there dancing. Pop culture went bang, exploded, and just kept going. Working-class kids everywhere

David Bailey and Terry O’Neill became almost as famous as the people they were photographing. I shared a flat with Vidal Sassoon and got free haircuts. Terence Stamp was another flatmate. It seemed like everyone I knew became famous.

You were good friends with Roger Moore. Did his death last year hit you hard?
Yeah, we were close. But at my age, you get used to your friends dying.

You’ve been buddies with two Bonds, Moore and Connery. Who would you like to play 007 next?
Tom Hardy. And make him do a posh accent.

You won an Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters. What do you make of the accusations against Woody Allen?
I am so stunned. I’m a patron of the NSPCC and have very strong views about paedophilia. I can’t come to terms with it, because I loved Woody and had a wonderful time with him. I even introduced him to Mia [Farrow]. I don’t regret working with him, which I did in complete innocence; but I wouldn’t work with him again, no.

Last year, you were in yet another Oscar-nominated film, Dunkirk…
Only a cheeky little cameo. Christopher [Nolan, director] and I have done six very successful films together. I’m his good-luck charm. Or is he mine? Anyway, I had to be in Dunkirk, but there was no proper part for me because of my age. Instead I did the voice of the Spitfire squadron leader over the radio. I looked at the gross yesterday: half a billion. The lucky charm worked again.

You seem almost as busy as ever…
What’s come into fashion, fortunately for me, is films for older people. Ever since The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took $150m, they’ve realised there’s a generation who still go to the cinema. So last year I made Going in Style with Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, all of us in our 80s. I’ve just done Night in Hatton Garden, about the oldest robbers in history. It’s like the audience have grown up with me.

Tess Daly says you’d be her dream celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. Fancy it?
Oh, really? I’m afraid I’m beyond that. She should be mighty relieved. I watch Strictly every weekend with my three grandchildren. We all shout out the scores together.

Was the 60s the best decade of your life?
At the time it was. Since then, my life has improved from decade to decade. My joy nowadays is not movies, money or women – I’ve been happily married for 45 years to the most wonderful woman I ever met – it’s my grandchildren. I’m devoted to them.

You’re 85 next week. How are you celebrating?
My wife’s organising something but won’t tell me what. My 80th was in Las Vegas with Quincy Jones. We call ourselves “the celestial twins”. He composed the music for The Italian Job and when he came on set, we worked out we were born at exactly the same hour. We’re not identical twins, clearly, we’re celestial ones. One thing I love about Quince is he’s always late for everything. He invited me around for lunch recently and he was an hour late. In his own house.

Will you ever retire?
No. The movie business retires you. I’ve just turned down a film, actually; but if I get a script I really want to do, I will. I’m busy enough. I’ve got the TV series and a book I’m writing. I did a guide to acting, which went very well, so now I’m writing one on stardom. It’s full of funny stories and I name-drop like fury, obviously. You might have noticed.

My Generation is released 16 March. On 14 March a preview screening in cinemas will be followed by a live Q&A with Michael Caine, broadcast from BFI Southbank

Michael Caine rails against the establishment in exclusive clip from My Generation documentary

'I never understood who my betters were supposed to be. I've never seen any of my betters'

Clarisse Loughrey
Monday 12 March 2018 12:29

Michael Caine invites you into the world of his youth in the new documentary My Generation: London in the Swinging Sixties.

It's an opportunity to see a revolutionary time in British history through the eyes of one of its famous participators, documenting the birth of London's pop culture scene.

The film combines Caine's own personal accounts, alongside archive footage and interviews with The Beatles, Twiggy, David Bailey, Mary Quant, The Rolling Stones, and David Hockney.

An exclusive new clip sees Caine and compatriots discuss how his generation clashed ideologically with the established powers, of the older generation still clinging on to the legacy of the British Empire.

Though the young have always been taught to respect "their betters", Caine notes: "I never understood who my betters were supposed to be. I've never seen any of my betters. I've seen a lot of my equals, but I've still never seen any of my betters."

My Generation has been a six-year-long passion project of Caine's, working alongside producer Simon Fuller, writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, and director David Batty.

An exclusive Q&A with Michael Caine will be broadcast live March 14th when My Generation arrives in movie theatres. For more information visit:

My Generation Trailer

Mulberry Born in 1971 / Mulberry's sales of luxury goods fall sharply in UK / VIDEO: Beyond Heritage - Mulberry SS'18 at Spencer House

Born in 1971, the roots of Mulberry are in Somerset, England.

Mulberry’s founder, Roger Saul, established the brand at his kitchen table, with £500 backing from his mother. His sister designed our instantly-recognisable tree logo - both that, and the name “Mulberry” come from the trees he would pass each day on his way to school. All of this represented a love of nature, the importance of family and the growth of a fundamentally British brand.

The first designs were buckled leather belts - soon, other accessories followed, including iconic bags and a womenswear line in 1979. The hallmarks of these Mulberry creations - timeless design coupled with traditional quality and a sense of the here and now - are the threads that run through everything we make. Then, today and tomorrow.

Mulberry's heritage - and hence our identity - is quintessentially British. Early inspiration was drawn from the styles synonymous with English rural pursuits - hunting, shooting, fishing - and Mulberry's immediately-identifiable, utterly individualistic style came to be dubbed "Le Style Anglais" in 1975. This idea is still inspires us. Between town and country, between Somerset serenity and London pace, Mulberry combines authentic, age-honoured craft with an innovative fashion character. Heritage meet rebellion - rules are broken, to make something new.

For more than forty years, Mulberry has been a leading British lifestyle brand, internationally acclaimed for our quality and design. Mulberry’s handbags - the Trout satchel, the Bayswater and the Alexa - have become contemporary classics, iconic examples of British design and manufacturing expertise. Roger Saul’s successors, Design and Creative Directors Nicholas Knightly, Stuart Vevers, Emma Hill and, from 2015, Johnny Coca have each placed their own stamp on Mulberry, reinterpreting the brand to chime with the fashion moment.

Mulberry today offers a unique point of view on heritage. We continue to celebrate the contradictions of a truly British identity, looking back to our archives and rich British traditions and examining them from a new perspective. A sense of the past reinvented with the spirit of now. Heritage yet modern, classic, yet unclassic.

Play with the classic, twist the conventional, use the familiar to make something inspiring and new.
Johnny Coca

Creative Director

Mulberry's sales of luxury goods fall sharply in UK
British bag manufacturer says weak pound causing tourists to shop elsewhere in Europe

Angela Monaghan

Wed 13 Jun 2018 14.27 BST Last modified on Wed 13 Jun 2018 14.56 BST

Mulberry’s UK sales have been hit in recent weeks as wealthy tourists favour Paris and Milan over London for their luxury shopping sprees.

The British designer bags manufacturer said foreign tourists were choosing other European destinations because rival luxury brands had raised their UK prices to compensate for the weak pound.

Sales in Mulberry stores that have been open for more than a year fell by 9% in the 10 weeks to 2 June, as domestic shoppers as well as overseas tourists stayed away. Sales outside the UK rose 1%.

Thierry Andretta, the chief executive, said that over the period Mulberry products had been sold at full price, with no discounting, adding he was confident demand in the UK would pick up.

 “We are playing a luxury game and we have a lot of attractive products that appeal to new, young customers and to our loyal customers,” he said.

Mulberry’s bestselling bag is currently the Amberley, launched last year with prices starting from about £500 for a small satchel.

Approximately 70% of Mulberry’s sales are in the UK, and Andretta said that while the company was “totally committed” to the domestic market, he hoped that over the long-term the split between UK and international sales would be closer to 50/50.

Alongside its annual results, the company announced a joint venture with SHK in South Korea as part of its international expansion plan. Mulberry will own 60% of the newly created entity, investing £3.1m. SHK will own the remaining 40% and invest £1.5m.

The luxury brand also created new entities in in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan in the year to 31 March 2018, as it seeks to capitalise on Asia’s swelling middle-classes.

“Although the UK market remains challenging, we will continue to invest in our strategy to develop Mulberry into a global luxury brand to deliver increased shareholder value,” Andretta said.

Pretax profit over the year fell to £6.9m from £7.5m, after £2m of startup costs and £2.4m of operating costs relating to its new Asia subsidiaries. Revenue edged up 1% to £169.7m.

Beyond Heritage - Mulberry SS'18 at Spencer House
To celebrate the launch of the Spring Summer ’18
collection Mulberry took over the magnificent Spencer House in central London
to host ‘Beyond Heritage’: a series of presentations and workshops throughout
the weekend. Open to the public on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February,
guests were able to enjoy the Palm Room tea house and shop the new collection

Beyond Heritage: Introducing Mulberry SS'18

Beyond Heritage: To celebrate the launch of the Spring
Summer ’18 collection Mulberry is taking over the magnificent
eighteenth-century Spencer House in central London to host a series of
presentations and workshops throughout the weekend. On Saturday 17th and Sunday
18th February, guests will be able to shop the new collection and attend

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


Fiona Campbell-Walter / Thyssen
"Her aristocratic beauty had a mysterious, subtle sensuality that perfectly represented the glamour of a period in which elegance was never an opinion. She was a true English, better yet, Scottish rose. Sir Cecil Beaton said that she was his favorite muse, with the type of mysterious, sophisticated face that he adored and the gracefulness of a lady. Fiona Frances Elaine Campbell-Walter, better known as Baroness Fiona von Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon after her marriage to the steel magnate and super-art collector Hans Heinrich Thyssen, a.k.a.“Heini”, left her mark on almost three decades of the 20th century, starting in the fifties when she first worked as a model. She was born on June 25, 1932 in Auckland, New Zealand, to a rear admiral of the Royal British Navy and the daughter of Sir Edward Taswell-Campbell.

 Her brilliant career, which was immortalized by interpreters of an evocative, sleek, dreamy photographic style such as Henry Clarke and Norman Parkinson but also by the nuanced modernity of David Bailey, brought her to incarnate the creative lines of Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Grès, Nina Ricci, Lanvin, Dessès, Jacques Fath, Dior and Valentino. Her chic look blended a neo-classical and impressionist artistic mood with a vibrant idea of modernity. Combining Edwardian references and the revolutionary youthful feel of Swinging London, Fiona passed from photos with extremely complex, theatrical poses to the simplicity of a beach, where she posed makeup-free and wrapped in a towel, as she was portrayed by Georges Dambier in 1954, draped in a Givenchy beach towel. Her marriage to Heini (who had reached his third wedding) that took place in 1956, twelve hours after first meeting on the ski slopes of Saint Moritz, floundered and ended bitterly in 1965.

 She returned to London with their two children Francesca and Lorne, leaving behind the palazzo on Lake Lugano filled with fabulous works of art. Love would return again thanks to her tumultuous affair with Alexander Onassis, which was strongly contested by his father Aristotle also due to the difference in age because Fiona was 16 years older than Alexander. Today, still gorgeous and proud, as if time could not fade her beauty, Fiona mainly divides her time between the islands of Greece and Vienna. She is often seen in company of her daughter Francesca, who became the Archduchess of Austria after marrying Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen. Now living a secluded life and taking care of the grandchildren, Fiona Thyssen is certainly far from the dazzling, frenetic and glamorous limelight."

 Cesare Cunaccia, excerpt from Vogue Italia, September 2014, n. 769, p.366

Published: 09/25/2014 - 07:00

The tumultuous affair with Alexander Onassis

Fiona Campbell-Walter, née Fiona Frances Elaine Campbell-Walter le 25 juin 1932 à Auckland, est un modèlen  britannique des années 1950, citée comme le « plus beau » modèle de Vogue. Elle devient baronne Thyssen à la suite de son mariage.

Les années 1950 voient plusieurs mannequins au style aristocratique et sophistiqué ; Fiona Campbell-Walter est de ceux-là. Son père est le vice-amiral Keith McNeill Campbell-Waltern , aide de camp du Roi George VIa . « Bien née », elle fait partie du Gotha de l'époque, apparaissant toujours élégante1. Sa mère l'encourage à devenir modèle, et dès l'adolescence, elle est photographiée par le prolifique Henry Clarke qu'elle a rencontré à Londres. Elle intègre l'agence de Lucie Clayton (en) et se voit publiée pour les différentes éditions internationales de Vogue et accède à la notoriété.

Favorite de Cecil Beaton, le portraitiste officiel de la famille royale d'Angleterre, elle est au sommet de sa carrière au milieu des années 1950, gagnant jusqu'à 2 000 £ par jour. Elle a le rare privilège pour un mannequin d'apparaitre en couverture de Life Magazine en janvier 19534. Modèle élégant et sophistiqué à la taille très fine — sans corset —, elle porte aussi bien le tailleur que la grande robe de bal3. Ses proportions particulières, entièrement naturelles et à l'opposé des canons de l'époque incarnés par Elizabeth Taylor ou Gina Lollobrigida, sont un exemple pour les femmes.

Fiona Campbell-Walter devient la troisième femme du riche Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon en septembre 1956 et se retire du métier de mannequin. Alors appelée la baronne Thyssen, elle s'installe à la Villa Favorita au-dessus du lac de Lugano5, ayant de par le monde une vie mondaine faite de voyages et réceptions, mélange d'élégance, de culture et de pouvoir6. Elle a deux enfants, dont Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza en 1958 et un fils, Lorne, en 1963. Elle divorce peu de temps après la naissance de son fils et part avec ses enfants s'installer à Londres

Au printemps 1969, elle défraie brièvement la chronique à cause d'une liaison, qualifiée d'intense, avec Alexander le fils d'Aristote Onassis, âgé de seize ans de moins qu'elle : des projets de mariage sont annoncés, puis annulés à la suite de l'entremise de Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassisa 4. Alexander Onassis meurt en janvier 1973 dans un accident d'avion, scellant ainsi leur séparation5. Fiona Campbell-Walter se consacre à la protection des animaux

Surnommée le « plus beau » modèle de Vogue, Fiona Campbell-Walter a une carrière relativement courte au milieu des années 1950, bien qu'elle apparaisse encore ponctuellement jusqu'au au milieu des années 1960 sur des photographies de mode3. Elle restera, avec Barbara Goalen et Anne Gunningn , l'un des trois grands modèles britanniques de cette époquea

La courte carrière de Fiona Campbell-Walter lui fait malgré tout travailler avec de nombreux photographes de mode majeurs de cette époque : Henry Clarke dès le début puis très souvent par la suite, John Deakin dans les années 1950, Frances McLaughlin-Gilln 4, John French (en), le photographe-mentor de sa consœur Barbara Goalena 7, plusieurs fois dont en 1951 et 1953 ; ce dernier sera l'auteur d'une photo de Fiona Campbell-Walter avec Anne Gunning en 1953, toutes deux en tailleur, image reprise dans certaines sources. La même année 1953, elle est sous l'objectif de Norman Parkinson, Milton Greene, ou Georges Dambier habillée en Marc Bohan pour le magazine Elle de l'hivern 5. Vers ces années 1950, c'est le mondain Cecil Beaton, « le plus notoire de ses inconditionnels4 » qui la photographie plusieurs fois ; il le fera encore en 1966 tout comme David Bailey deux ans plus tard pour le British Vogue du mois de février. Habituée du Vogue français, Fiona Campbell-Walter fait, entre autres, une couverture en 1952 habillée en Jacques Fath, celle du numéro de décembre 1953 en robe et fourrure, ainsi que juin 1955 en maillot de bain de la maison Jean Patou.

Baron Heinrich von Thyssen
A billionaire industrialist, he spent his life building the greatest art collection in private hands

Jane Walker
Mon 29 Apr 2002 02.22 BST

The Swiss billionaire Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen Bornemisza, who has died aged 81, accumulated arguably the greatest private art collection in the world. All his adult life, he invested his wealth in art to augment the collection he had inherited from his father.
In the early 1990s, realising that his collection of almost 800 paintings had outgrown his home in Lugano, Switzerland, the baron began to look for a new location. Spain won the day over stiff competition for a collection said to outstrip even that of the Queen. Both Prince Charles and Mrs Thatcher flew to Switzerland to put in a bid for Britain; President Mitterand lobbied for France; the Getty Foundation offered millions of dollars for the United States; and the Swiss government tried to block the paintings' export.

But, in 1993, the pressure of the bedroom decided matters in favour of the birthplace of the baron's fifth wife, Carmen "Tita" Cervera, a former beauty queen and widow of Tarzan Of The Apes actor Lex Barker. She negotiated with the Spanish government, who paid more than £241m for the collection, and donated the Villahermosa palace in Madrid, near the Prado, to house it. The contract was for 10 years but, after further negotations, it was agreed that the Villahermosa should became its permanent home.

Relations between "Baron Heini" and his older children, long tense, were aggravated after his marriage to Baroness Tita, who was once described by his daughter Francesca as "the wicked stepmother". Four years ago, he accused his oldest son, 52-year-old Georg (or Heini Jr), of negligence in the running of the family trust, which had been signed over to him five years earlier.

The baron launched court proceedings against Heini Jr to regain control of the billion-dollar holdings in the Bahamas. It was a case that threatened to enrich only the expensive lawyers employed by both sides; finally, last year, the two came to a private agreement.

Von Thyssen was born in Scheveningen, Holland, the fourth, and youngest, child of Heinrich von Thyssen, a wealthy German industrialist, and Margit Bornemisza, a Hungarian aristocrat. The family empire, founded on shipbuilding, coal, steel and iron, had been started by the baron's grandfather, August, who left his fortune to his two sons, Fritz and Heinrich, in 1926.

The grandfather was not a collector on the scale of his son and grandson, but was an admirer of Auguste Rodin, from whom he commissioned a set of six marble sculptures (they remain one of the gems of the collection). Relations between the brothers were acrimonious, with Fritz a sympathiser and financial supporter of the Nazis; his industrial interests would eventually form the basis of the Thyssen-Krupp group.

Heinrich Sr inherited August's love of art, along with the other financial benefits. He built up the collection with wise investments, buying at bargain-basement prices from American magnates ruined in the 1929 crash. Heinrich and his wife divorced in 1931, and 10-year-old Heini moved with his father to Switzerland, where they adopted Swiss nationality the following year.

Heini was only 26 when his father died in 1947, leaving his fortune, and 525 paintings and other art works, to his children. As the only sibling who had inherited their father's love of art, after an acrimonious court case Heini set about buying the collection back from his brother Stefan and sisters Margit and Gabrielle.

Heinrich Sr had invested heavily in art works up to the 18th century, but his son's interests favoured 19th- and 20th-century works; his purchases created a priceless collection, and a course in the history of art under a single roof. For many years, his vast wealth permitted him to take his place among the international jet-set, attending all the best parties and staying at the best hotels, while sitting on the boards of some 30 companies, many of them in IT and the technical sector.

Until his health began to fail, Heini and Baroness Tita continued this lifestyle, shuttling between their various mansions in Switzerland, three in Spain, Jamaica, Paris and London, which they filled with priceless and favoured paintings.

The baron is survived by Tita - his fifth wife - and his five children. These are Heini Jr, son of his first wife, the Austrian Princess Teresa zur Lippe Weissenfeld; Francesca (married to Karl von Hapsburg) and Lorne, by his third wife, the British former model Fiona Campbell-Walter; Alexander, from his fourth marriage, to the Brazilian Denise Shorto; and Borjahe, Carmen Cervera's son, whom he adopted. His second wife was Nina Dyer.

· Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen Bornemisza de Kaszon, industrialist and art collector, born April 13 1921; died April 27 2002

Sunday, 10 June 2018

National Seersucker Day

Seersucker Thursday is an annual tradition in the United States Congress in which Senators wear clothing made of seersucker on National Seersucker Day. This light, cotton-based material is traditional in the Southern United States.

The tradition was started by Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi in 1996 who wanted to "bring a little Southern charm to the Capitol" to remind the Senate of how Senators dressed before the advent of air conditioning in the 1950s. The practice was temporarily suspended in 2012 amid congressional gridlock, but began again in 2014.

While this tradition is an annual event, it is also common to see congressional staffers don seersucker suits on Thursdays throughout the year.

Seersucker weave was introduced to the American south, probably through British colonial trade, sometime in the second half of the 19th century. The cotton weave, which originated in western India, became a signature look of the United States in the early 20th century because its light weight and pre-rumpled surface made it ideal for the intense humidity of summer. 

The wearing of seersucker suits declined with the advent of air conditioning. By the 1950s, air conditioning reached the Capitol, ending the necessity of seersucker suits there.

Gregory Peck famously wore a seersucker suit in the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, creating a cliché of how small town Southern lawyers dressed invoked by later actors such as Andy Griffith. The image of a bow-tied, seersucker-suited young man in a boater hat is likewise a cliche image of a recent graduate of elite Northeastern colleges.

History of Seersucker Thursday
In 1996[2] Senator Trent Lott decided to bring the tradition back. His goal was to show that "the Senate isn’t just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and—in the case of men—red or blue ties". In 2004, Senator Dianne Feinstein decided to increase participation by encouraging women senators to follow the tradition. The following year 11 of the 14 women senators appeared on Seersucker Thursday in outfits received as gifts from Feinstein.

As of June 27, 2012, Seersucker Thursday was announced to be discontinued.

As of May 27, 2015, Senator Bill Cassidy successfully advocated for the return of Seersucker Thursday. Cassidy remarked, "This uniquely American fashion has a storied history dating back to 1909... Mr. Haspel said it best, ‘hot is hot, no matter what you do for a living.'