16 January 2010

DB IX: Barney

 MS. Barney
by Alice Pike Barney
(the sitter's mother)

"if I had one ambition it was to make my life itself into a poem."


"Natalie Barney was fabulously beautiful, fabulously wealthy and Sapphic.  Her life is fascinating.  She didn’t just skirt convention, she exploded it, announcing at 12 that she, "live openly, without hiding anything." She pursued other women with a vigor and ardor that would put any lothario to shame. For the vast majority of her years she shared her life with the painter, Romaine Brooks.  While she loved Brooks, she simply could not remain faithful and Brooks finally gave up on Barney’s infidelity, walking out when she was 94.  She refused to see Barney, who sat outside her hotel room and pleading with her for forgiveness. Brooks died in 1970 at 96.  Two years later, Barney died at age 95.  While I don’t advocate infidelity, there is a lot to be said for being dumped in your 90’s because you are still sleeping around. "

read more LUCINDAVILLE here
read more Barney here
read more Romaine Brooks here

Barney by Brooks

Brooks self portrait


  1. Lucindville, you always make me think/laugh. Sometimes simultaneously!

  2. Brooks and Barney were both fascinating women! The small horse figurine in Brooks' portrait is thought to symbolize Barney's lesbianism. Brooks used the term "Amazon" as code for her sapphic friends and lovers, and the horse is the totem animal of the Amazon. Next to Whistler, she is one of my favorite portrait artists...

  3. I remember seeing their little temple d'amour, an 18thC little folly somewhere in Paris...it had a little tiempietto entrance and a garden around...rather in shambles was what I remember seeing and reading a few years ago...would love to see it again.

  4. Regina- I saw photographs of it when working through some things- I should track it back and post.

    Tara,What a fascinating woman-indeed.

    HBD-Lucinda is a great inspiration!



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