Showing posts with label Death In Venice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death In Venice. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

exclusive : The Guggenheim Aussie Connection !

Peggy in Venice

Currently on show at the Art Gallery of Western Australia is A Collection In Venice-the fantastic art collection of famed US art patron Peggy Guggenheim. It's been ignored by most media except for an ABC TV story this week.

Amongst the extraordinary works that were owned by Peggy Guggenheim are pieces by Mondrian, Rothko, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack and Marcel Duchamp.

Max Ernst
 Guggenheim inherited around $US2.5M from her grandfather Benjamin Guggenheim who died in the Titanic disaster in 1912.
After working for a time in a New York book store she moved to Paris and immersed herself in the Bohemian world of art, having numerous affairs with now famous names of the art world.

She married Max Ernst in 1941 and became pals and the patron of artists like Duchamp and Man Ray. With her wealth she promoted artists who today are legendary.

 Older Shuttler's may remember the controversial 1973 purchase of Jackson Pollack's Blue Poles . Pollack owed his reputation in the USA to Guggenheim's relentless promotion.

The newly elected Labour government of Gough Whitlam  paid $1.3M for the painting-the then highest ever price for a modern work of art. Scathing criticism lasted for years although the work, now at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra is estimated at being worth $180M .

Peggy Guggenheim eventually settled in Venice on the Grand Canal at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in 1949 after divorcing Ernst where she continued her love of art collecting and along the way, indulging in love affairs with artists.

But there is one love affair that has never been written about before.

Kit Lambert with Pete Townshend from The Who
In the 1970's,  rock band manager Kit Lambert who  discovered the legendary The Who arrived in Venice to purchase his dream home. Lambert had always believed he had been conceived in Venice during a  night of passion between his mother and famous father, the English classical composer Constant Lambert.

He found his villa, ironically named Villa Lamberti next door to Guggenheim's Palazzo Venier dei Leoni . Within a year the two had become close friends and were having a torrid love affair. It lasted on  and off for over 3 years.

However Lambert  was addicted to heroin and had a fierce cocaine habit which Peggy, despite her bohemian aspirations, abhorred. Lambert was also having financial problems due to his drug intake. Peggy ended the affair one morning when she visited Lambert in his villa for breakfast.

As Lambert would later re-call, Guggenheim's parting words to Kit were-"Quite frankly, Kit, I simply cannot afford you !".

Christopher 'Kit' Lambert  who died in 1983 after a mysterious fall down a flight of stairs was the grandson of one of Australia's first and most famous artists-George Washington Lambert.

Along side Blue Poles in Canberra can be found several G.W.Lambert works and beside the driveway to Mrs Macquarie's Chair in Sydney there is a statue dedicated to him.

Peggy Guggenheim ; A Collection In Venice is at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from the 9th October 2010 to 31st January 2011

## Coming soon-the woman who turned down Andy Warhol's offer of marriage !

Uber fashion designers and the darlings of the pop set Dolce and Gabana have been accused of a massive tax evasion scam in Italy.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, along with five other people, are accused of channeling profits through Luxembourg, paying just three per cent tax on sales royalties instead of much higher Italian taxes. As a result, the Italian treasury has allegedly been defrauded of an estimated €420m.
Read more at The First Post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The outrageous Mr Simon Napier-Bell

A Shuttle staffer has drawn our attention to an interview in the UK Sunday Express with Simon Napier-Bell published in February. The same staff member introduced our team to Simon when he visited Sydney in 2007 for a series of radio and TV interviews.

It seems the bon viveur, pop impresario and songwriter and lately, best-selling author has verbally seduced another journalist over a fine dinner. Our colleague reckons that is Napier-Bell's stock in trade and it works extremely well. He dazzles and hypnotizes over the dinner table with words and a fine bottle of vintage red.

Simon's website is a must to visit and full of anecdotes and the history of his musical successes from the Yardbyrds, Dusty Springfield, Marc Bolan and T-Rex to Wham with a few of the biggest chart topping songs penned along the way. He lives most of his  time in Thailand now and is writing another book-the last 3 having been best-sellers with 'Black Vinyl White Powder' regarded by critics as possibly one of the best books ever written on the music industry. I recommend "I'm Coming To Take You To Lunch" about Napier-Bell's  successful scheme to get Wham to be the first western band to ever appear in China. At times it reads like a thriller and is one of those books you find difficult to put down.

Our Shuttler says he went on a few adventures with Mr Napier-Bell to foreign parts and has some very saucy tales to tell but is keeping them for his own tome. He did let us in on one episode though when the pair visited Rome for a weekend.
Being our Shuttlers first and only ever visit to the glorious city, the 2 set out for a stroll along the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens on a perfect Roman spring day. 

Within minutes they spotted an extremely handsome young Italian stud who sent all the right  gaydar signals. Our Shuttler wheeled around and insisted upon following the young Italian. He says it was like a scene out of Death in Venice - the young man would stop occasionally to allow them to gain traction and then speed off again. All that was missing was the black hair dye running down our Shuttler's face in the heat.

In a two hour trek at lightening speed our Shuttler whisked past sights he had dreamed of one day visiting, seen only out of the corner of his eye in a blur. Down the Spanish Steps, along the Via Veneto, past the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City, the Coliseum and so on.  Ten yards behind Mr Napier-Bell did his best to keep up pleading for a cultural  interlude but ignored.

On a hill high above Rome with our Shuttle staffer believing success was soon to be his and his own Roman Spring of Mrs Stone was about to blossom, the young Italian turned around, laughed, gave a sporty wave and sped off to disappear forever into a labyrinth of alleyways.
He remembers little of Rome from that weekend except a later visit to a disco to drown his sorrows whereupon  he rounded on Napier-Bell and accused him of wrecking what was destined to be a romantic love tryst, by lagging so far behind.

In a huff he walked off in high dungeon and out the door to return to their hotel - and straight into a broom closet. Where he waited a full hour before he emerged in embarrassment.
Ever the perfect host, Mr Napier-Bell was patiently waiting with  a fine bottle of white wine on ice.

Years later our Shuttler was dining with mutual acquaintances who had recently  met with Mr Napier Bell in Singapore and they commented on how entertaining he had been. Which included recounting the tale of the race through Rome !