The Theatre of the Self: The Life and Art of William Ronald

By Robert J. Belton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

The Kootz
Gallery Years

Fig. 25. Ingeborg de Beausacq, Untitled [from a Photo Essay in "Camera: Internationale Monatsschrift für Photographie und Film" 29.8 (August 1950), 1950.

Ingeborg de Beausacq has described herself as a midwife at the birth of Ronald's mature career. 1 She was a German by nationality, a fashion photographer by training, an avant-gardist by choice, and a French countess by marriage. Arriving in New York in 1948 to practise her profession (fig. 25), she set up a studio at 470 Park Avenue. Seven years later, having grown tired of paying four hundred dollars a month to someone else, she bought a lot on East Seventy-First Street to build her own studio and house. She hired Paul Mitarachi, a young architect from the influential firm of Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill, who told her that the severely modern-style house she wanted would take nine months to build. She took this as an opportunity to travel on a photo‐ expedition to French Guiana, where she was enchanted by the native paintings on the simple houses along the Maroni River.

Returning to New York in 1956, de Beausacq walked into her new home, white from top to bottom and devoid of furniture save for a bed. She scattered about some artifacts brought back from French Guiana and resolved to buy a big, arresting painting to set it all off. She turned to her friend Samuel Kootz, whose Manhattan gallery represented many influential artists, ranging from relatively old masters like Picasso and Hofmann to young insurgents like Gottlieb and Lassaw. De Beausacq soon realized that the expense of the house and her trip had placed these established artists out of her reach. For

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