For my first few Warhol Museum blog entries I thought I would write a traditional “back to school” kind of report…
“Did you ever go to Camp?” “Yes, Camp!?” “Andy, did you ever go to camp?” the words were echoing through the upper floors of the Warhol Museum this June when I was visiting my family and my dear friend Eric Shiner. The breathy, soft voice was so familiar, I knew it well. As I rounded the corner there in beautiful black and white was a cast of characters, the early factory members asking the artist/director off camera, if he had ever gone to Camp. Sitting in the middle, legs up on the couch, slightly recumbent in all her blond beauty was Jane Holzer, or “Baby Jane” as she was called then. THAT was the voice I recognized! A voice I hear on the phone several times a day since I moved my gallery in Palm Beach into one of her retail spaces on the famed Worth Avenue. It has been like a dream come true for this Pittsburgh girl to have become close to such an icon. Talk about full circle, as I was watching Jane and co. ask so many tongue-in-cheek questions about recreation verses what Susan Sontag coined in her “Notes on Camp” as an unmistakenly modern sensibility, Ms. Holzer was texting me that very moment.
In fact, it was my pleasure to spend part of my summer fun with Jane Holzer, traveling with her to the art world’s grown up equivelent of summer camp, Art Basel in Switzerland, Paris and spending some time at her beach home in South Hampton. In Europe, we also had her granddaughter Emma Jane in tow and she has become quite the young connoisseur, inheriting her grandmother's keen eye. Also traveling with Jane was William Stover, fellow "Pittsburgher", independent curator formerly of the Carnegie Museum and MFA Boston. (William and I knew each other when he was a young, dapper curatorial assistant at the Carnegie Museum of Art in the Contemporary Art department and I was an intern.) We recently compared notes about this and growing up in Pittsburgh while walking through the incredible collection of modern pictures at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Basel.
After a few days at the fair, we all took the train to Paris, where we took in the spectacular Eduard Manet exhibition at the Muse d’Orsay. We were able to jump the lines because our friend Jean Gabriel Mitterand got us passes to the show, which was breathtaking! Ever since I was a young girl I and first came upon the charming little painting in the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection by Manet “Le Chat avec Brioche” I adored “the inventor of modernity”. Amazing how he is still so relevant and studied today. I don't know any other painter who has since taken full advantage of shades of grey, black and white in combination with pink in all of art history. We see it especially in cape and background of "The Dead Toreador" and of course in the fleshy pink costume of the Courtesan's attendant in "Olympia" and in the very form of subject herself.
One of the absolute highlights of the trip was dinner in Fontainebleau at the country home and studio of the great surrealist French sculptor Claude Lelanne, with whom Jane has known for many years. Well known in the 60’s for her whimsical sculptures of life size sheep with real wool, a favorite among the chic French fashion set including Yves Saint Lauren for whom she made jewelry and collaborated on a dress. Intense interest in her work was re-ignited when the work sold for surprising amounts in the famous Christie's Yves Saint Laurent auction at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Madame was an absolute delight and her tarte de pommes was beyond! Our weary but delightfully sated party was driven back to the city in time to catch the Eiffel tower light up at midnight…pure magic.