Saturday, 15 December 2018

714) Élisabeth, Countess Greffulhe

Marie Anatole Louise Élisabeth, Countess Greffulhe (née de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay; 1860 – 1952). French socialite, known as a renowned beauty and queen of the salons of the Faubourg Saint-Germain in Paris.
The countess helped establish the art of James Whistler, and she actively promoted such artists as Auguste Rodin, Antonio de La Gandara and Gustave Moreau. Gabriel Fauré dedicated to her his Pavane. She was a patron of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets russes, and launched a fashion for greyhound racing. Fascinated by science, she helped Marie Curie to finance the creation of the Institute of Radium, and Édouard Branly to pursue his research on radio transmission and telemechanical systems.
She is one of the main inspirations for the character of the duchesse de Guermantes in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. Her husband, Count Greffulhe, is the main and almost unique inspiration for the character of the duc de Guermantes. A recent biography demonstrates - relying in particular on research into the author's draft notebooks - that Countess Greffulhe and her family, who inspired several of the characters in La recherche, played a major role in the genesis of the work and in the discovery of the "magic" name of Guermantes.
The colour of her eyes was unusual; as Mina Curtiss, who visited her, noticed, her eyes were like "the dark purple brown-tinged petals of a rarely seen pansy." 

- "She loved to wear green, which complemented her auburn hair."

- "A commanding redhead and noted beauty, the Countess was an important philanthropist who helped raise funds for the Ballets Russes and for a lab for Madame Curie."…/vogue-archives-elizabeth-taylor-aud…

- "Like the fictional Duchess, Greffulhe's garments were often covered in orchids or lilies, green or mauve-pink to accent her auburn hair, or shimmering velvets with printed motifs."…/marie-an…/article32363017/

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