10 June 2009

Lise Deharme: The Lady of the Glove

Lise in 1936 photographed by Man Ray

While thumbing through old issues of Art et Décoration, I came across a feature on the residence of Lise Deharme. I had never heard of her, but the photos of her sumptuous, shall we say "layered" interiors told me this was a woman with a story and a fabulous sense of humor...

Deharme taunting her white Persian cat Charmante

Deharme, née Anne-Marie Hirtz, was a society hostess and a contributor/muse to the Surrealist movement. André Breton nursed an unrequited passion for her and caused her to be called "The Lady of the Glove" after describing a scene in his autobiographical narrative Nadja (1928) in which he imbues much emotion in her potential bequest of a sky blue glove.

Here in her salon, Deharme entertained such art and literary luminaries as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Antonin Artaud, and Paul Éluard. Plants and trees brought the outside in as did the life-size porcelain tortoise.

Lise, center, as the Queen of Spades, by Man Ray
Joan Miro illustrated Lise's first book, Il etait une pie (There was a magpie), 1928

A satin grotto in a forest - why not?

She wrote poetry, edited the short-lived Surrealist literary review Phare de Neuilly of 1933 and later in life wrote romance novels so racy they were forbidden to minors.

The Empty Cage from Cahier de curieuse personne (1933), trans. by Franklin Rosemont

I missed
the book of my life
one night
when they forgot
to put a sharp pencil
next to my bed


Anonymous said...


Could you says me in which issues of Art et Décoration found an article on Lise Deharme's home ?
I work on Lise Deharme'text and I am really curious to know her.

Thanks you!

Sylvie Tremblay (sylvie_t@hotmail.com)

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Sylvie, Alas I thought I had recorded the issue number, but I can't find it in my notes. It was definitely in the 1950s - I'll take a second look and see if I can find the date.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

What a wonderful introduction to another fascinating woman we need to know! Does it seem like there were so many that entertained beautifully, dressed well, wrote poetry- Lived Well. Who are today's set EEE- Or is it too soon to tell? I would love your thoughts on this. la

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Tish, SUCH a great question! I think one of the reasons it's so hard to think of someone who covers ALL those bases is because women aren't raised with the same emphasis on mastering the household arts compared to those just a few generations ago. So maybe I think Tilda Swinton is incredibly interesting and inspiring, but I'm guessing she's not a latter day Elsa Maxwell.

Sadly, the one person who withot doubt deserves to join the pantheon of legendary style-setters - and we're talking for brains, creativity as well as sartorially - died before her time. Isabella Blow.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

eee, on the isabella blow pick I agree totally, in fact I devoted several posts to her on my blog. the World of Interiors piece on her apartment is a lovefest for me and the eyes.What about Carolina Irving? You may even know her;She seems to be a very modern version of living the beautiful and full life. la

The Peak of Chic said...

I'm swooning over that fantasy of a forest grotto. That took guts- and loads of style.

home before dark said...

It saddens me to think the devolution of style, intelligence, confidence and that certain, how do you say it, WTF attitude has resulted in more people like Paris Hilton. We've gone from women writing literature, having salons where IDEAS were actually discussed to one disgusting world of Tweets. BIG SIGH.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Jennifer, she certainly didn't take the predictable path of good taste - which is why I think it stands out.

Home before dark, you are preaching to the choir - reducing every thing to a slogan or an elevator pitch is the root of all our throwaway society - don't get me started! EEE

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme said...

Hi !!!
I was searching pics about he mother of my gran-mother and i found this.
I am the son of Nathalie, daughter of Tristan, son of Paul and Lise.

My contact:
Bastien, parisian artist.