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Encyclopedia > Luisa Casati
Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) with a greyhound by Giovanni Boldini
Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) with a greyhound by Giovanni Boldini
The Marchesa Luisa Casati by Simon Wass (2004)
The Marchesa Luisa Casati by Simon Wass (2004)
Gravestone for Luisa Casati Photograph by Simon Wass (2004)
Gravestone for Luisa Casati Photograph by Simon Wass (2004)
Epitaph on Luisa Casati's Gravestone. Photograph by Simon Wass (2004)
Epitaph on Luisa Casati's Gravestone. Photograph by Simon Wass (2004)

Luisa Casati Stampa di Soncino, Marchesa di Roma (Milan, 23 January 1881 - London, 1 June 1957) was an eccentric Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th century Europe. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 328 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (438 × 800 pixel, file size: 47 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), La marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) con un levriero (1908). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 328 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (438 × 800 pixel, file size: 47 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), La marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) con un levriero (1908). ... Giovanni Boldini (1910) Giovanni Boldini (December 31, 1842 – July 11, 1931) was an Italian genre and portrait painter, belonging to the Parisian school. ... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ...


Early life

The younger daughter of a wealthy cotton manufacturer, Alberto Amman, and his wife, the former Lucia Bressi, Luisa Adele Rosa Maria Amman was born in Milan to a life of luxury. Her father was made a count by King Umberto I for his contributions to the cotton industry. Countess Amman died when Luisa was 13, and Count Amman died two years later, making his Luisa and her elder sister, Francesca (1880-1919, married Giulio Padulli) reportedly the wealthiest women in Italy. For other uses, see Cotton (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Milan (disambiguation). ... Look up Luxury in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... -1...


Luisa married, in 1900, Camillo Casati Stampa di Soncino, Marchese di Roma (Muggiò, Milan, 12 August 1877 - Roma, 18 September 1946). A year later, their only child, Cristina, was born.

After the early years of their marriage and the birth of their daughter, the Casatis maintained separate residences for the duration of their marriage. They were legally separated in 1914, and the marriage ended upon the marchese's death.

The couple's daughter, Cristina Casati Stampa di Soncino (1901-1953), married, as her first husband, Francis John Clarence Westenra Plantagenet Hastings, known as Viscount Hastings (later 16th Earl of Huntingdon), in 1925; they had one child, Lady Moorea Hastings (b. 1928, who became the third wife of Labour politician Woodrow Wyatt and later wed Brinsley Graham Black), and divorced in 1943. As her second husband, Cristina, Viscountess Hastings married, in 1944, the Hon. Wogan Philipps. Earl of Huntingdon is a title which has been created several times in the Peerage of England. ... Woodrow Lyle Wyatt, Baron Wyatt of Weeford (July 4, 1918 – December 7, 1997), was a British Labour politician, published author, journalist and broadcaster. ... Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford (25 February 1902 – 30 November 1993) was the only member of the Communist Party of Great Britain ever to sit in the House of Lords. ...

Marchesa Casati presently has three descendants, Lady Moorea Hastings and her sons:

  • The Hon. Pericles Plantagenet James Casati Wyatt (b. 1963, who became an owner and operator of water parks and recreational-vehicle camps in Arizona)[1][2][3]
  • Octavius Orlando Irvine Casati Black (b. 1968, the founder of The Mind Gym, a mind-development system based in London).[4][5]

Muse and patroness

A celebrity and femme fatale, the marchesa's famous eccentricities dominated and delighted European society for nearly three decades. She captivated artists and literati figures such as Robert de Montesquiou, Erté, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, and Jack Kerouac. She had a long term affair with the author Gabriele D'Annunzio. The character of Isabella Inghirami from D'Annunzio's Forse che si forse che no (Maybe yes, maybe no) (1910) was said to have been inspired by her, as well as the character of La Casinelle, who appeared in two novels by Michel Georges-Michel, Dans la fete de Venise (1922) and Nouvelle Riviera (1924). Convicted spy Mata Hari made her name synonymous with femme fatale during WWI. A femme fatale (plural: femmes fatales) is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Literati redirects here. ... Robert de Montesquiou, portrait by Giovanni Boldini, Musée dOrsay, Paris. ... Romain de Tirtoff (pseudonym Erté, a French pronunciation of initials ) (November 23, 1892 - 1990) was a French artist and designer. ... Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager and filmmaker. ... Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton (January 14, 1904 – January 18, 1980) was an English fashion and portrait photographer and a stage and costume designer for films and the theatre. ... Jack Kerouac (pronounced ) (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist, writer, poet, and artist from Lowell, Massachusetts. ... Gabriele dAnnunzio (12 March 1863, Pescara – 1 March 1938, Gardone Riviera, province of Brescia) was an Italian poet, writer, novelist, dramatist and daredevil, who went on to have a controversial role in politics as a precursor of the fascist movement. ...

In 1910 Casati took up residence at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on Grand Canal in Venice (now the home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection). Her soirées there would become legendary. Casati collected a menagerie of exotic animals, and patronized fashion designers such as Fortuny and Poiret. Later, when she had lost her immense wealth, the marchesa retired to England, spending her last years in London, where she died at age 76. Characters based on Casati were played by Vivien Leigh in La Contessa (1965) and by Ingrid Bergman in the movie A Matter of Time (1976). The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a small museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. ... Menagerie is the term for a historical form of keeping wild and exotic animals in human captivity and therefore a predecessor of the modern zoological garden. ... Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo,(1871-1949), was a Spanish born fashion designer, opened his couture house in 1906 and continued until 1946. ... Categories: People stubs | 1879 births | 1944 deaths | French people ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier (November 5, 1913 – July 8, 1967) was a two-time Academy Award winning English actress. ...   (pronounced in Swedish, but usually IPA: in English) (August 29, 1915 – August 29, 1982) was a three-time Academy Award, two-time Emmy Award, one-time BAFTA, honorary César Award, four-time Golden Globe, two-time David di Donatello, two-time Silver Ribbon, one-time NSFC, two-time NBR... A Matter of Time was a 1976 film starring Liza Minnelli and Ingmar Bergman. ...

The beautiful and extravagant hostess to the Ballets Russes was something of a legend among her contemporaries. She astonished Venetian society by parading with a pair of leashed cheetahs and wearing live snakes as jewellery. Her numerous portraits were painted and sculpted by artists as various as Giovanni Boldini, Paolo Troubetzkoy, Romaine Brooks, Kees van Dongen, Man Ray and Augustus John; many of them she paid for, as a wish to "commission her own immortality". Léon Bakst: Firebird, Ballerina, 1910 There was also the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1932 to 1963 The Ballets Russes was a ballet company established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and resident first in the Théâtre Mogador and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris... For other uses, see Venice (disambiguation). ... This article is about the animal. ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ... Giovanni Boldini (1910) Giovanni Boldini (December 31, 1842 – July 11, 1931) was an Italian genre and portrait painter, belonging to the Parisian school. ... Paolo Troubetzkoy (Intra, 15 February 1866 - Pallanza, 12 February 1938), also known as Paul, was an artist. ... Romaine Brooks (May 1, 1874 – December 7, 1970), born Beatrice Romaine Goddard, was an American painter who specialized in portraiture and used a subdued palette dominated by the color gray. ... Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen (January 26, 1877 – May 28, 1968), was a Dutch painter born in Delfshaven, in the suburbs of Rotterdam, and is generally known as Kees van Dongen or just van Dongen. He was one of the les Fauves and gained a reputation for his sensuous, at... For other uses, see Man Ray (disambiguation). ... Artist John, on a 1928 Time cover Augustus Edwin John OM, RA, (January 4, 1878 – October 31, 1961) was a Welsh painter, draughtsman, and etcher. ...

She was muse to F. T. Marinetti, Fortunato Depero, Umberto Boccioni and, more recently, to Dita Von Teese. John Galliano based the 1998 Spring/Summer Christian Dior collection on her. Gowns from this collection have been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Fashion Institute. And Casati served as inspiration for one of Galliano's ensembles created for his autumn/winter 2007/2008 Bal des Artistes haute couture collection for Dior. The Futurists in Paris, February 1912. ... Fortunato Depero (March 30, 1892 - November 29, 1960) was an Italian futurist painter, writer, sculptor and graphic designer. ... Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (Museum of Modern Art, New York) Umberto Boccioni (October 19, 1882–August 16, 1916) was an Italian painter and sculptor and a member of the Futurist movement. ... Dita Von Teese (born Heather Renée Sweet on September 28, 1972) is a popular American burlesque artist, model and actress. ... John Galliano CBE (born January 28, 1960, in Gibraltar) is a British - Gibraltarian fashion designer. ... Christian Dior (January 21, 1905 – October 23, 1957), was an influential French fashion designer. ... Wedding - Bridesmaid in long gown A gown or evening gown is a womans evening wear, corresponding to mens formal wear for white tie and black tie events. ... Metropolitan Museum of Art New York Elevation The Metropolitan Museum of Art, often referred to simply as the Met, is one of the worlds largest and most important art museums. ...

As the concept of dandy was expanded in the 20th century to include women, the marchesa Casati fitted the utmost female example by saying: "I want to be a living work of art". This article is about the persons. ...

Debt, flight and death

By 1930, Casati had amassed a personal debt of $25 million. Unable to satisfy her creditors, her personal possessions were auctioned off. Rumour has it that among the bidders was Coco Chanel.[1] Gabrielle Bonheur Coco Chanel (August 19, 1883 – January 10, 1971)[1] was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her arguably the most important figure in the history of 20th-century fashion. ...

Luisa fled to London, where she lived in comparative poverty. She was rumoured to be seen rummaging in bins searching for feathers to decorate her hair. [2]

She died in London on 1 June 1957, and was interred in Brompton Cemetery. The quote "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety" from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra was inscribed on her tombstone. is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... Brompton Cemetery is a cemetery located near Earls Court in West Brompton, a part of the Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in west London, England. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Anthony and Cleopatra, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. ...

She was buried wearing not only her black and leopardskin finery but a pair of false eyelashes. She also shares her coffin with one of her beloved stuffed pekinese dogs. Her tombstone is a small grave marker in the shape of an urn draped in cloth with a swag of flowers to the front. The inscription strangely mis-spells her name as 'Louisa' rather than 'Luisa'. It's a very hard grave to find and despite her fame, wealth and notoriety is very modest compared to the thousands of grand monuments within Brompton Cemetery. Pekingese or Pekinese is an ancient breed of toy dog, originating in China. ... Tombstone most commonly means a headstone marking the grave of a deceased person. ... For other uses, see Flower (disambiguation). ... Brompton Cemetery is a cemetery located near Earls Court in West Brompton, a part of the Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in west London, England. ...


  1. ^ Nevill, Bernard. The World of Interiors (London), January 2001.
  2. ^ Jullian, Philippe. "Extravagant Casati," Vogue (New York), September 1, 1970.


  • Ryersson, Scot D.; Michael Orlando Yaccarino (September 2004). Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati (Definitive Edition). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-4520-5. 
  • Beaton, Cecil. The Glass of Fashion. New York: Doubleday, 1954.
  • Druon, Maurice. The Film of Memory, trans. Moura Budberg. New York: Scribners, 1955.
  • Duncan, Isadora. My Life. London: Victor Gollancz, 1928.
  • Germain, Andre. Les fous de 1900. Paris: Les Editions Palantine, 1954.
  • Holroyd, Michael. Augustus John: A Biography. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1975.
  • John, Augustus. Chiaroscuro: Fragments of Autobiography. New York: Pellegrini & Cudhay, 1952.
  • Jullian, Philippe. "Extravagant Casati," Vogue (New York), September 1, 1970.
  • Ray, Man. Self-Portrait. Boston: Little, Brown, 1963.
  • Rose, Francis. Saying Life: The Memoirs of Sir Francis Rose. London: Cassell & Company, 1961.
  • Spencer, Charles. Leon Bakst and the Ballets Russes. London: Academy Editions, 1995.

An editor has expressed a concern that the subject of the article does not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ...

External links

  • "www.marchesacasati.com": The official website devoted to the marchesa Casati, her biography 'Infinite Variety' and the Casati Archives.
  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (Venice) where La Casati gave her most memorable extravaganzas.
  • "www.dandyism.net" A page on the website dandyism.net about her

  Results from FactBites:
Italian Fashion: The Marchesa Casati (719 words)
The Marchesa Casati was painted by Boldini and John Singer Sargent, wore clothes by Fortuny and Poiret, held wild and extravagant parties and kept tigers as pets.
The daughter of a wealthy ‘cottonieri' or cotton merchant, Luisa Casati was born in 1881.
Luisa decorated houses in Venice and Rome, and restored the Palazzo Venier die Leoni to its original magnificence with marble floors and chandeliers.
Infinite Variety German Edition (1557 words)
Luisa Casati wurde 1881 als Tochter des wohlhabenden Textilindustriellen Alberto Amman und seiner Frau Lucia Bressi in Mailand geboren, wo sie ihre Kindheit verbrachte.
Der frühe Tod der Eltern machte Luisa und ihre Schwester Francesca zu Waisen und zu den wohlhabendesten Erbinnen in Italien.
Luisa Casatis unbestreitbare Egozentrik ist untrennbar verbunden mit ihrer historischen Bedeutung.
  More results at FactBites »



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