Flipping through this collection of fashion and portrait photographs by Baron Adolph de Meyer is like attending a glitterati cocktail party circa 1920. A raucous Josephine Baker clinks glasses with a suitably sophisticated Coco Chanel; an earthy Claude Monet eyes the ethereal Anna Pavlova; Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney poses like queen of the socialites; and Mary Pickford exudes the freshness of the bouquet she cradles in her arms. De Meyer photographed for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazar at a time (chronicled here by photography writer Ehrenkranz) when fame was just beginning to rub shoulders with fortune, and the baron has captured the era with a hazy, soft-focus glow. But his most enduring images are not those of befeathered models who seem to have walked out of a Busby Berkeley extravaganza nor the studied portraits of beautiful women, but his series of photos of the ephemeral yet immortal dancing of Vaslav Nijinsky. De Meyer captures him in a chameleonlike range of moods: his feline eroticisim in Schhrazade, his playfulness in Le Carnaval, his classical restraint in Le Pavillon d'Armide, and the sculptural formality giving way to sensual release in the scandalous Le Prlude de l'aprs-midi d'un faune. The book accompanies a traveling exhibition that will open in New York City later this year. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Anne Ehrenkranz. A Singular Elegance-the photographs of Baron Adolph de Meyer. Chronicle Books, 1994. ISBN: 9780811808309