Tuesday, January 18, 2011
One of the key members of key figures profiled in Cafe Society is Charles de Beistegui (also known as Carlos de Beistegui). I first heard his name after seeing a watercolor by Jeremiah Goodman of one of his rooms. He's a fascinating aesthete who was best known for the "party of the century" he gave at his Palazzo Labia in Venice in 1951. Chateau de Groussay in Montfort-l'Amaury, France was built in 1815 and after de Beistegui purchased it in 1939, he set about expanding it with the help of Emilio Terry. Even though the chateau was in France, he took his cue for the decoration from the English. It was warm and comfortable and because of de Beistegui's Spanish neutrality, the chateau was never occupied during the war. Instead, it hosted parties for all of Paris society and his friends who included Baron and Baronne de Cabrol, Cecil Beaton, Alexis de Rede, and Jacqueline de Ribes. Dominique Dunne wrote a very thorough profile of Charles de Beistegui in Vanity Fair in 1998 entitled All That Glittered which is available online. It's definitely worth the read. You might be able to see in the photos of Chateau de Groussay that the decoration influenced many decorators including David Hicks, Mark Hampton, Daniel Romualdez, and even Miles Redd. After his death, the chateau was passed to de Beistegui's nephew who later sold it to Jean-Louis Remilleux who has opened it for tours. I'll post photos of the garden and its follies spearately. Enjoy!
Photo by Cecil Beaton