30 August 2009

ELSIE DE WOLFE: Long May She Reign

In light of the recent travails of Elsie de Wolfe's Villa Trianon


Scene from a Dining Room: Walls covered with mirrored panels done in the style of Jean Baptiste Pillement, with the mirror's backing cut away to reveal painted chinoiserie landscapes. This particular scene certainly appears to me-Chinoiserie Elsie on her throne with her subjects kneeling in reverence or in fear.

An Aesthete's Lament: Villa Trianon:The Dilapidation

An Aesthete's Lament: Requiescat en Pace:Villa Trianon

An Aesthete's Lament: Up Close: Villa Trianon

(image from Elsie de Wolfe's 1936 design in Beverly Hills for Countess Dorothy di Frasso. A 70 year secret treasure of her work photographed by SIMON WATSON for House & Garden in 2007, "Elsie in Amber" produced by Mayer Rus, written by Christy Hobart.)

Hutton Wilkinson, president of the Elsie de Wolfe Foundation called it "a lost gem" and a "complete surprise. It has all the bells and whistles of her work. It's absolutely extraordinary," The estate was handed over in 2008- for the sale of its contents and the residence. (read more here.)

This de Wolfe creation 70 years in situ-relegated to destruction. Little is appreciated in terms of the work by this legend. Whoa to the similar destruction of a great work of architecture- this is unlikely. Now it seems that Elsie de Wolfe's Villa Trianon will suffer the same fate.


  1. I loved her quote, "Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you." I work on it. This is so sad... Rebecca

  2. Who has owned the house since Elsie vacated it?
    And I thought they were all about preservataion in Paris..
    Which 2007 issue of H&G was it?

  3. serg, why thanks!& for stopping in.

    Rebecca- Elsie will long be quoted, even if her rooms and houses do not.

  4. Sacheverelle,
    I hope you will touch base with the links from an Aesthete's Lament- all the details are in those posts, and they are excellent.
    The 2007 HG issue is May
    It think villa T. is destined for the scrap heap and such a loss and shock. this is when I wish that my heap was made of gold.

    Thanks for stopping in. G



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