“Show me a dandy and I’ll show you a hero.”

Some images, websites, and thoughts I came across while I was contemplating dandyism this weekend:

Les Manteaux, published in Gazette du Bon Ton (vol. 12), 1913. Bernard Boutet de Monvel, illustrator.

“It is a kind of cult of the ego which can still survive the pursuit of that form of happiness to be found in others, in woman for example; which can even survive what are called illusions. It is the pleasure of causing surprise in others, and the proud satisfaction of never showing any oneself. A dandy may be blasé, he may even suffer pain, but in the latter case he will keep smiling, like the Spartan under the bite of the fox.”— Charles Baudelaire, From “The Painter of Modern Life,” 1863

London Dandy; The Squire of Alsatia; Cries of London, Johann Joachim Kändler, Meissen porcelain factory, 1754, The Victoria and Albert Museum, C.124-1940
The Fashionable Mirror addressed to the Man of Mode, Print by William Dent, 1786, British Museum, 1948,0214.573
American, Coat worn by Edward Carrington, ca. 1820, Wool broadcloth with silk velvet collar and gilt brass buttons, Rhode Island School of Design
American, Coat worn by Edward Carrington, ca. 1820, Wool broadcloth with silk velvet collar and gilt brass buttons, Rhode Island School of Design
The actor Sir Herbert Beebohm Tree (1853-1917) as the Count D’Orsay in The Last of the Dandies, c. 1890, © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
Robert de Montesquiou, portrait by Giovanni Boldini, 1897, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Rupert Lycett-Green in Neo-Edwardian dress, 1965
London, England (made) Wedding Suit, Mr Fish (maker and retailer),1967, Wool and synthetic fabrics, machine sewn and hand finished, T.30:1, 2-2010 “Charles Lucas wore this light grey cloth suit with a white satin cravat for his marriage to Antoinette von Westenholz on 9 November 1967.”—Victoria and Albert website
David Bowie's suit, 1972, David Burretti ©The David Bowie Archive
David Bowie’s suit, 1972, David Burretti ©The David Bowie Archive
Jean Paul Gaultier, Fall 2012, Couture

 

John Varvatos, Autumn/Winter 2013

“You can call this a “peacock complex”—I approve of that. Show me a dandy and I’ll show you a hero, as Baudelaire said…And in the nineteenth century it was more…They’re the aristocracy of elegance. It’s the leather, it’s the placement of the gold embroidery, the small casques with one egret feather; the tasseled boots, the sables…They have the real absurdity of style.”—Diana Vreeland, D.V. p. 181

Check out these exhibit sites and other dandytastic sites:

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Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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