Save the date: May 9th, 2015 ~ Fondazione Prada

by Sara Nitti


On May 9th Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 3, Milano, will be open to the public from 10 am to 9pm.


Construction of Foundacione Prada

Construction of Fondazione Prada


Once a former distillery, in the industrial south section of Milan–8,900 square meters, it is now the home of the biggest, and arguably, this city’s most exciting contemporary art space. The new location for Fondazione Prada, back to Milano after 7 years, returning from its Venetian venue at Ca’Corner della Regina in Venezia.


Museum, cinema and torre are the three new structures added to the reclaimed site, photograph by bas princen, fondazione prada

Museum, Cinema and Torre are the three new structures added to the reclaimed site, Fondazione Prada combines seven industrial structures dating back to 1910, with three new buildings designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, photograph by Bas Prince, Fondazione Prada


The complex will house a cinema, library, museum and a large exhibition space, which constitutes more than half the compound’s overall 205,000 square footage, the city’s newest and largest gallery of contemporary art, the first permanent home open to the public.


Miuccia Prada stands outside her new Fondazione in Milan, Photograph by Mario Sorrenti

Miuccia Prada stands outside the new Fondazione in Milan, photograph by Mario Sorrenti


The venue is set to appeal to art aficionados of all persuasions. “This new opening is an act of responsibility towards present times,” said Mariuccia Prada.  She continued, “Fondazione Prada will not be a museum, but rather the continuation of an intellectual process founded on the exploration of doubt and on extensive research.”

The project of Rem Koolhaas blended the building’s original industrial character with several expansions, including an eight-story tower (still under construction) described as a monolithic sculptural mass which they hope will become “a new landmark in Milan’s urban landscape.”


The exterior has been covered in gold leaf, one small area at a time; the facade will reflect the rising and setting sun.

New York Times blog: “The exterior has been covered in gold leaf, one small area at a time; the facade will reflect the rising and setting sun.”


Ten buildings in total will be gallery spaces for the Fondazione Prada’s contemporary art collections, which are extensive, as well as a rotating series of specially commissioned exhibitions, including a cinema, a café, a library and other facilities.


At the heart of the compounds will sit the Haunted House, an intimate space which will house site-specific installations conceived by international artists.

Koolhaas declares, “The Foundation is not a preservation project nor a new architecture exercise. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction- offering an ensemble of fragments that will not resolve into a single vision, or allow any part to dominate the others. The complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each others challenges.


Baldessari show, The Giacometti Variations is made up of nine facsimile of Giacometti's sculptures  It consists of a series of huge figures 15 feet tall, inspired by the imagination of the Swiss sculptor, which are clothed and outfitted with garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself, thus forming a hypothetical, though immobile, fashion show

The Giacometti Variations by Baldessari, consists of a series of huge figures 15 feet tall, inspired by the imagination of the Swiss sculptor, which are clothed and outfitted with garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself, thus forming a hypothetical, though immobile, fashion show


Astrid Welter, project director of Fondazione Prada, describes the projects as a pivotal moment in the organization’s history. “This is our transformation, our phase two of the Foundation,” she said. Continuing, “We have already become a platform for art exhibition and other disciplines like architecture, cinema and philosophy, and the new exhibition site in Milan will allow us to amplify all the activity which we have done so far on grander scale. It will ensure the Foundation will keep on investigating, with the help of various disciplines, useful and relevant for cultural discourse today.”

And then, for cinephiles everywhere: a bar designed “in the traditional Milan café style” by filmmaker Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel) who recreated a 1910 Milanese atmosphere in a bar open to the public from the street. He took ideas from the Vittorio Emmanuelle Galleria decorations in the centre of Milano. A truly epic urban space!


Waiters work in a bar designed by US film director Wes Anderson recreating the old Milan cafes' atmosphere in the new venue of Prada's Foundation

Waiters work in a bar designed by US film director Wes Anderson recreating the old Milan cafes’ atmosphere in the new venue of Prada’s Foundation


This should be a destination for many years to come. Very important is the kid’s area, designed by a group of students from the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’architecture de Versaille…and the programme for the next days, will include Roman Polanski who will explore the cinematographic inspirations behind his artistic vision… much to see, many events from May 9th throughout summer 2015.  Especially well timed opening to coincide with the World Expo 2015 in Milano.

Sara Nitti, Boulevardiers Guest Contributor resides in Milan,

and more Boulevardiers are going in July…we can’t wait!!



In the Studio: Photographs

by Kim Steele

Photograph by André Kertész, Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926, Gelatin silver print, Private collection © Estate of André Kertész/Higher Pictures

Photograph by André Kertész, Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926, Gelatin silver print, Private collection © Estate of André Kertész/Higher Pictures


An ambitious exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue, curated by Peter Galassi, rustles up many issues. As Roberta Smith quoted in the New York Times: “…trophy-curators. Clout is definitely on display here, contributing to that heady combination of overt excellence and subtle vulgarity that may be something of a Gagosian specialty.”

The exhibition includes nearly 150 photographs by over 50 artists—spanning from the origin of the medium to the late twentieth century. The curator is former Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The studio is a place of creativity and reverence throughout art history. It can become the subject, a participant or the background for painting and photography. Distinct are these applications, due to the historical positioning of these environs. Since the incipience of photography and due to the long exposures of early photography, a studio was mandatory to create the image and background. It created the milieu for the subject, as it did in many painting periods, from Flemish, Spanish to contemporary images by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. Gagosian has two exhibits concurrently, one of painting downtown are one of photography uptown, which I will review here.


Painting by Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, Private collection © The Estate of Philip Guston

Painting by Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, Private collection © The Estate of Philip Guston


This ‘studio’ element plays many roles. In the first section titled, “Pose and Persona,” artist that exhibit themselves or corpus, as exampled by the notorious Cindy Sherman who has made a career of ‘self-revelation.’ The press release makes proud mention of this: “The nudes and portraits assembled here are exemplary because they acknowledge the role of the setting, or accentuate the deliberateness of a pose, or highlight the purposeful enactment of a persona.” I believe here that painting is much more successful at this endeavor, especially (as shown in the downtown space) Philip Guston (complete with light bulbs and painting brushes), Alberto Giacometti and Alfred Stevens. There is a long, rich tradition of employing the studio in painting from still life to actually painting the easel, as employed by Goya in his familial paintings. Some of these photographers are much are more adroit in the field than the studio, especially the king of all ‘street shooters’ Lee Friedlander, as well and renown interpreters of street imagery, Brassai and Walker Evans. Photographers have created a genre of photographing artists in their studios, which has revealed much of their process.  The most famous was of Jackson Pollack “action” painting for Life Magazine. The portrait here of  Matisse is a prime example.


Photograph by Constantin Brancusi,  View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920 Gelatin silver print, Private collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Photograph by Constantin Brancusi,
View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920
Gelatin silver print, Private collection
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris


With Richard Avedon, the studio strips the subject bare to the essentials, especially using large format photography where details glare at the viewer. With another master Irving Penn, the background is a ‘stage’ of presentation of the model or the object. There is the further genre–where the studio is the actual subject, illustrated here by Brancusi’s images of his own studio, grouped here as the second section of images, “Four Studios.”


Photograph by Helmut Newton: Self Portrait with Wife and Models, Paris, 1981

Photograph by Helmut Newton: Self Portrait with Wife and Models, Paris, 1981


Another section, “Sittings” evoke the self. Lucas Samaras, whom this writer had the pleasure of reviewing in his New York Studio in the seventies, with his Polaroids of his twisted, deranged face glaring at the camera. This group is all about Self. Robert Mapplethorpe, whom I also reviewed during this period in his studio, projects their unique persona. Lynda Benglis and Helmut Newton execute the same indulgence. I find these too self-referential, too thin to hold my interest. Yes, shock of the seventies does have it’s place in art history, but they do not hold up against time; indulgent exercises in ego, like Vito Acconci’s performance pieces do–which I witnessed, including the loaded gun. That genre has gained serious traction in the indulgent work of Nan Golden and Sam Taylor-Johnson, the director of the recent film, Fifty Shades of Grey. This raises a deeper issue of studio as self. It must, in this reviewers mind, rise above a simple recording of “me.” Cindy Sherman succeeds this regard, it is indeed, of her–in her studio but the image is about much more.


Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Matisse, 1944, Magnum Photos, Courtesy Foundation Henri Cartier

Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Matisse, 1944, Magnum Photos, @ Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson


The third section and final, “An Embarrassment of Images” include images shot from the artist studio. Josef Sudek’s views are lovely, as Smith phrases it, “photographs of photographs.” He has always been to Romantic for my taste but I appreciate his sensitivity to light and form. More compelling would have been Henri Cartier-Bresson’s images of Henri Matisse in his studio. These harken back to a more formidable concern of structure, introduced by the Constructivist Alexander Rodchenko.



Photograph by Alexander Rodchenko, The Critic, Osip Brik, 1924


Parenthetically, the extremely moving and inspiring work of the genius, William Kentridge, which this reviewer had the honor of viewing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a few years back, consolidates this purpose of these two exhibitions, at the downtown gallery. He both is the artist viewing and employing his studio in his work, both in his films and paintings.


Artist William Kentridge at CCC Garage

Artist William Kentridge at CCC Garage


Disclaimer:  Due to some restrictions on the use of photographs, not all the images in this review are found in the exhibition, but intended to be illustrative of my opinion.


Photograph byFlorence Henri, Self Portrait, 1928

Photograph by Florence Henri, Self Portrait, 1928







133-so-les-suites-photo01-item-fr  Just In Case The Raphael is Booked

                                                     by Jerry Bowles



There is nothing quite as deliciously self-indulgent or decadent as a great hotel. Hemingway wasn’t whistling Dixie when he said “Whenever I dream of afterlife in Heaven, the action always takes place at the Paris Ritz.” Papa loved the place so much that he personally “liberated” it upon arrival into Paris with American troops in World War II. Coco Chanel lived there for years. Walking into an opulent lobby and being greeted by an army of minions whose only concern in life in your comfort and well-being is a heady experience, indeed, for the very rich and those us writer/photographer types who mastered expense account stealing from wealthy corporations before the Internet came along and ruined everything.

My favorite hotel is located a couple of hundred yards and a world apart from the Ritz. The Hotel Rafael opened in 1925 as a refuge for people who favor a smaller, more intimate approach to luxury. With its 86 elegant and tasteful rooms—some of which have balconies that look onto the Tour Eiffel—the Rafael is perfect for people who prefer privacy and understatement over obvious flash. I’m not sure the hotel is particularly proud of this but when Hitler visited Paris on June 23, 1940, he ate at private dining room at the Rafael with his military commander of France, General Strumnagle. The place is so romantic, they probably held hands.





On my first visit I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport for a photo shoot with a photographer of my acquaintance and we discovered that the baggage handlers and the airport taxi drivers were on strike. These were the days when photographers carried around strobe lights and all kinds of cameras and equipment. With our own traveling bags, we had somewhere between 150 to 200 pounds of stuff waiting for us on the tarmac under the plane. Somehow, we manage to drag it to a Metro stop, get it piled up in the middle of the train, rode to the Gare du Nord, unloaded, dragged it little by little up four levels, to the street. (At some point, we passed someone who looked like a baggage handler and I offered to buy him a condo in Miami if he would help us and he said something in French that sounded like “I am French. I don’t carry.”) Got our stuff into a city taxi which was not on strike.

Ten minutes after we settled in at the Rafael exhausted, I realized that somewhere along the way I had left my small shoulder bag which contained my passport, plane ticket home, and wallet. Dragged myself back into a taxi and back to the Gare du Nord and started retracing my steps. Three levels down, I found my bag, untouched, sitting at the top of an escalator. It was as close to a miracle as I’ve ever experienced. The whole thing took more than three hours. Any hotel that can survive that kind of introduction and become a favorite has got to be doing something right.


I have asked one of my dear friends to discreetly bury my ashes somewhere under the floorboards at the Rafael if he outlives me. I believe I asked someone else to scatter them in Puligny-Montrachet. Just in case the Rafael is booked.








Hotel Raphael, 17 Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris, France



JamesStBasils0629Moscow Redux

                    …by James Broder






In November of 1991 I worked for a week in Moscow on the television production of the Kremlin Cup ATP Tour tennis tournament. It was a crazy, chaotic time in Russian history. Boris Yeltsin had recently outwitted an attempted coup, climbing atop a tank parked outside the Russian “White House” at one point to give an impromptu press conference. Both the Hammer-And-Sickle and the flag of the Russian Republic flew atop the Kremlin. I know that to be a fact because one day I was invited to a reception at the Kremlin, and saw for myself. From inside the Kremlin Walls. As I walked to the Kremlin Palace of Congress. After the reception, I made a deal with the Kremlin coat check girl. I tipped her a dollar and she allowed me to keep my plastic coat check claim, with its Cyrillic writing. I kept it for 15 or 20 years, but ultimately somehow misplaced it.

White House DSCN0617

The television crew was housed at a Penta Hotel across the street from the Olympic Stadium. Penta Hotels flew food and supplies in every day from Germany for hotel guests, because in the chaos of Moscow, food (or any consumer good) was almost impossible to come by. One day I went wandering through Moscow with a colleague who spoke fluent Greek (at least he could read the street signs). We decided to venture out to try to buy food. Any food. We were unsuccessful. None of the dozen-odd stores we visited had anything to sell. Not a loaf of bread, not a potato. We spent almost 5 hours wandering around the heart of Moscow, and returned to the hotel with nothing. Then I went upstairs to my room and switched on the TV to EuroSport. Whatever I started watching was interrupted by Magic Johnson’s press conference from The Great Western Forum announcing he had contracted HIV and was retiring from the Lakers.




About 10 years later I was invited back to Moscow to work on the television production of a UCI World Cup track cycling event, indoors at the Krylatskoye Velodrome (world’s only indoor 333m track!). I checked into a giant, spooky-looking Soviet-era hotel next to the Moscow River called the Hotel Ukraina. I arrived after dark. Atop the hotel was a 50-foot-tall electrically-lit red star. After stashing my bag in my room, I went back outside and had a walk around the neighborhood. EntranceToKrylatskoye


You might say things had changed. There was a Porsche dealership across the street. Down the block was a SBarro. On the first floor of the hotel, around the side, mid-block, was a medium-sized supermarket. I walked inside to find huge bins of fresh produce, a well-stocked dairy section, and anything else one would find in a typical SPAR in Germany or a Sparkasse in Austria.

Capitalism had come to Moscow. God help them.


Zaha’s First Hotel

                         …by Andrew MacNair


ArtHotel Billie Strauss

ArtHotel Billie Strauss

In What Seems Like the Middle of Nowhere…
On and off for a year I lived in the Billie Strauss Art Hotel. It is the first hotel designed by my friend Zaha Hadid in the early 1990’s.  This first hotel, commission by Billie and Mano Strauss for Zaha, was the result of a direct line of friends of friends to friends – Nicola Walter in New York to her mother Maya Walter in Stuttgart to Billie Strauss in Stuttgart and Nabern. Billie Strauss ran an avant-garde gallery in Stuttgart where I was doing an exhibition of “Egg City.”


Billie Strauss and her architect husband, Mano, run an extraordinary country restaurant in the old town hall, the Weinstube Altes Rathaus of Kirchheim unter Teck, Nabern, Germany.  Mano is the great chef and Billie the sweet and always cheerful boss. Zaha made in one way a fairly practical renovation inside the barn with a few Zaha touches and in another way what was then its own kind of radical thing – a wild, swooping curvilinear gallery ceilings punctuated with broken diagonal walls and a tectonic insertion, a kind of fallen fragment jammed into the middle of the new tiny exhibition space downstairs in a sub-basement sunk half below ground with facing the back side towards the town brook. Two kinds of musical scores: Zaha’s Futurist Symphonic Cacophony versus the Sublime Babbling Brook.

I lived in a room for the year with trips back to Rotterdam and New York was small white and blue sheetrock box with a two shiny side tables and a small pointy bed.  It was actually “the nice” room. Quiet. Clean. Simple Modern. Bright. I liked it.

One part of Zaha’s original design that was not built was a small, steel-frame tower attached to the hotel with three levels of extra super rooms. The image of this little avant-garde tower like an abstract tree for me was always part of my view, vision – and now memory of living, being there. The constancy of living between memory and imagination is who we are and a major part of how we live.  Also, for some architects, the world of “unbuilt  architecture” is a major part of our constant production making buildings clients or no clients – both for Zaha and probably even more-so for me.  I have a 45 year architectural practice of over 500 buildings never built.  So Zaha’s unbuilt tower of rooms is a very important part living there and now in memory of that journey.

There were a few things that were always in my view of what was essentially country, farming town living. The side tables were slightly sloped and shiny, so things would keep sliding off. And there were pointy corners of the frame of the bed that kept jabbing my shins.  And then it was almost too suburban, too nice – an endless aura of ennui – but that was soothing to me while it seemed out of character not only with Zaha and her design aesthetic – but more with the divide from the rustic beauty of the barn and Rathuis, the small farmer’s village and the flowing rural landscape of streams, fields, horses, cows, and the nearby Schwabian Alps.


Ironically I was working during that year in Stuttgart with Mano and a local architect’s office on a design for a health hotel nearby in Beuren – a famous and popular hot water springs. Buses packed with Germans, Italian and even Japanese tourists came to this tiny town to bathe in the springs. I was there in Billie Strauss Art Hotel designed by Zaha while designing a Health Hotel up the road and over the mountain.


The most interesting aspectual hindsight far-far away from  New York 20 years later is what I call the “Shifting Contextual Frame” – or a kind of “Traveler’s Zoom” – where we hover between memory and imagination – in a zoom from the Buzz of Stuttgart to the picturesque outdoor Pastoral Landscape of the Schwabian Alps to the to the Rustic Farming Town and Wild Curvilinear Yellow Koolzaad flower fields to the antique buildings of the Restaurant and the Art Hotel to the interior abstract spaces of the gallery disrupted with an inserted, crashing Zaha Fragments and the finally up  to a quiet, carved refuge of my tiny blue and white room, an Aedicule of Peaceful Refuge – which thanks to Billie and Mano gave what-was-for-me a neccessary and rare space, time and calming experience.  It was an avid, manic New Yorker living in a rural place that seemed and seems like a dream in Nowhere yet is very much Somewhere – special oasis, a clear place and bright memory I still cherish – with relish.

Arthotel Billie Strauss, Weilheimer Straße 20, 73230 Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany

Weilheimer Strasse 18, Kirchheim – Teck/Nabern, 73230 Kirchheim unter Teck, Baden-Württemberg, Deutschland



celal2      Living Like Royalty in Istanbul

                                             by Sally Steele


Many of the Boulevardiers are very low maintenance when it comes to hotels. Others are not. Traveling with our Publisher often yields nicer rooms due to his penchant for “haggling.” I would not always call this haggling, I would just say it is taking advantage of the gift of exacting memory combined with the gift of gab.

On a trip to Turkey, we had quite the adventures. We started in Istanbul, landed at night, headed to an airport hotel, woke up at 4:00am to a windy rainstorm, had the window of our room bust open spilling rain onto the carpet and knocking over end tables we had stacked up to keep the window from blowing open in the first place, quickly dressed and headed back to the airport in the damp dark. You might be wondering why we put up with this? Our Publisher who was shooting for The New York Times Sunday Review, Exposures series was given the exciting opportunity to shoot at CERN, during downtime for the ATLAS & ALICE colliders, right before CERN was due to close for weeks around the holidays. When approached by The New York Times, we said, “sure we can detour right after landing in Istanbul and go from there to Geneva, across to CERN, down 700 meters to Atlas, shoot, then head to Alice, and get back on a plane to Istanbul and restart our vacation!”





So…back in Istanbul, we checked in to our real hotel, the Celal Aga Mansion, and toured Istanbul, from an average but nice room in this hotel, with a quirky but friendly staff. Two weeks later, after heading via a bus in a Christmas Eve snowstorm through the Taurus Mountains to Antalya for a week, and then back to Fethiye, Izmir,bharain,  we returned to Istanbul. Before leaving Istanbul, we booked another room at Celal Aga Mansion, for the nights before we returned to the U.S.

Unfortunately, after a very active and full time in our other Turkish destinations, we arrived at Cel Aga Mansion to be told that we had not indeed booked a room, and they were also sold out as it was New Year’s and rooms anywhere in Istanbul were at a huge premium, and only certifiable dignitaries would get one arriving after dark on December 31. I became fretful and was figuring out how to contact someone, anyone, to get a room in Istanbul, even if we had to go back to the wind tunnel at the airport. Our Publisher, assuring the check-in staff that we had secured a room, invoked the name of his crony in reception from the prior visit, and insisted that they had not only guaranteed our 2nd booking, but that we would have to be given a room, any room, as we were not leaving. After about 5 minutes of haggling, which felt like an hour, the clerks told us they did have a room, only one which we figured was a closet next to the kitchen…but actually was their Royal Suite. Apparently a Bahraini Prince had his eye on it, but had not arrived in to Istanbul or confirmed, so as it was almost New Year’s day, out came the luggage cart, and up we went.








Splendid is the only way to describe the suite, multiple gilt baths, a huge living room with bar, a kitchen, and a glorious bedroom with all kinds of built in luxuries.  We reveled in the sumptuousness, then headed out to dinner, told multiple times that no reservation on New Year’s Eve=no dinner, so we settled for cheap takeout at the joint around the corner, and headed back to our royal suite for the evening.

A vendor in the Istanbul Bazaar once amused me in epic fashion, “Madam, how can I part you form your money?” Basically don’t try, and now that I’ve had the Bahranian royal suite for the same price as a Queen room, I’m insufferably not able to be parted from my money.

Celal Aga Mansion Hotel, Kemal Paşa Mh., Şehzadebaşı Caddesi No:5, 34130 Istanbul, Turkey



du cap1       Nothing remains the same

                …by Marilyn “Greenie” Abrams




It was around 1971, when we first visited Cannes and were staying at a hotel on the Croisette. Fielding at that time was a great travel book and recommended the Hotel du Cap in Cap d’Antibes as a must see. We booked a reservation for lunch. We drove up to this astonishingly beautiful villa and walked in the front door which opened up to the most magnificent view of the Mediterranean imaginable at the end of a long path surrounded by incredible gardens.Hotel-du-Cap-Eden-Roc-French-Riviera




If I haven’t used enough adjectives, suffice it to say that after an impeccable lunch (another adjective) we checked out of our Cannes hotel, moved to the Hotel du Cap, canceled our Paris hotel and have returned every year since. The biggest change has been that the guests at that time were all European while now Americans have discovered the charm.

du cap 4




Nothing remains the same, but I still can’t sleep the night before we go and we plan our first lunch and luxuriate in the anticipation of the luxury ahead of us. It is an other world, a paradise.du cap 5dAntibes






Hotel du Cap, Boulevard JF Kennedy, 06600 Antibes, France



savoy 4                Not THAT Savoy!

                                       …by Kim Steele



Upon arrival at Heathrow, I was greeted by a dapper gentleman in a Jaguar to transport me to The Savoy Hotel in Central London on the Thames. The House of Savoy was the ruling family of Savoy, descended from Humbert I, Count of Sabaudia (or “Maurienne”), who became count in 1032, who broke original ground on the Strand in the City of Westminster. It passed through many royal hands before becoming the property until impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte bought it in 1880 to build the Savoy Theatre expressly for Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Having seen the opulence of American hotels in his many visits to the U.S., Carte decided to build the first luxury hotel in Britain ( Peck, Tom. “Savoy refurb: rather fine, guests agree”. The Independent, 11 October 2010). , which was the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.

In 1890, Carte hired the hotel’s first famous manager, César Ritz, who later became the founder of the Ritz Hotel. Ritz brought in his partners, chef Auguste Escoffier, and maître d’hôtel Louis Echenard. Ritz put together what he described as “a little army of hotel men for the conquest of London” Ashburner, F.”Escoffier, Georges Auguste (1846–1935)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, May 2006, accessed 17 September 2009

savoy 2




I was surprised by this development, but since the corporation for whom I was working, made the reservations, I was in good hands. Arriving at this esteemed institution, we were greeted by many bows and proffered hands. I have never seen such quality swaggy goodies in the room in my life. Also in a promotional effort there was a gift certificate for food and wine at the hotel that was part of the room price. I am sure, even in the nineties, this room fare was over $500 US. The writer and I luxuriated over the grounds, woodwork and rugs and planned our work. This lobby set the standards for all my future hotel experiences. We were both surprised at the accommodations but the welcome was so enthusiastic, we waited until the next day to contact our client. WHAT???? He bellowed, not that Savory but another one with a slightly different name… Too late, unfortunately, to check out that day, we had to endure all the fineries of the upper class: custom made beds by Savoir Beds, sheets, towels, soaps, petit four and antique furniture for another day before moving out with the riff-raff to more pedestrian accommodations.savoy 1



The list of clients include the most luminary, from Queen Elizabeth Coronation Ball, to King Edward VII, Sarah Bernhardt, Enrico Caruso (who sang with a baby elephant while the lobby was flooded for a gondola party), Lillie Langtry, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Nellie Melba, Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Barrymore, Harry Truman, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Josephine Baker, Cary Grant, Babe Ruth, Ivor Novello and Noël Coward. Chruchill would often take his luncheons there complete with his daily bottle of champagne.savoy 3


The hotel is now owned by a US equity firm, Blackstone, and operated by the Fairmont Group. As to have laid my head down on that sumptuous custom bed for two nights, twas Heaven!

The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EU, United Kingdom



WP 4                    You Have Arrived

                                       …by Kim Steele



Heralding a consummate list of guests, including Egyptologist Howard Carter, who in 1922 discovered the intact tomb of Tutankhamen, The Winter Palace was the winter residence for Egypt’s King Farouk hence the name, it sits atop the Karnak at Luxor, on the Nile that cannot be traversed, but must be circumnavigated, like so many things in life.

Sofitel Winter Palace Louxor


Rising up those few steps into the entrance, off the busy, street crowded with child beggars and horse carriages, and in short distance along the majestic Nile, the felucca catch the breezes in their picturesque sails. WP 3






WP 1





Lovely details from, hangers, to sheets and stationery, this hotels says, you ‘have arrived!’ I sat on the back terrace overlooking the garden, writing in my journal about the important impact that Egypt had on the the Western world: astrology,(discovering the leap year), geometry, our calendar, our counting system, and architecture system. Nearby is Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, one of the most memorable sites in the world. It is an elegant beaux arts structure enveloping the Nile.

WP 2

Winter Palace Hotel, Kornish El-Nile st – beside Luxury Temple – Luxury, Luxor, 11432, Egypt


THANK YOU to Jerry, James, Andrew and Greenie for sharing your travel tales with The Boulevardiers.

First hand recommendations from our Publisher:

Hotel Hassler Roma, Italy

Le Sirenuse Hotel, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Taj Bengal, Kolkata, India

Brown’s Hotel, London, UK

Grand Hotel et de Milan, Italy

Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor, Egypt

Hotel Majestic, Saigon, Vietnam

Chateau Marmont, bungalows, Los Angeles

The Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico

Hotel Arts Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand



William Randolph Hearst ~ Boulevardier of the Year

by Kim Steele






Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it. ~WRH



Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA, photograph by Kim Steele

One of the most telling descriptions, for better or worse, is the fact that his Senator father, George Hearst, willed his entire fortune upon his death in 1895 to his wife, Phoebe, stating that his only son, William, was a “hopeless spendthrift.” He was not entirely wrong. He in fact assumed the control of his mother’s property in Pleasanton, California in the same year, to begin his first major construction project, the Hacienda del Pozo de Verona. He was twenty-seven at the time and building his career in newspapers, radio and film. She “re-possessed” it from him soon there after.

William (WRH) was born into wealth. His father was a gold miner, U.S. Senator and engineer. His great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland to South Carolina to acquire a land grant. He was properly reared at the best of schools, St. Paul’s in New Hampshire and then Harvard College. He was expelled for sending chamber pots painted with his instructor’s faces inside, and sponsoring beer hashes in Harvard Yard. He floundered for an occupation, and landed on publishing. His father owned the San Francisco Examiner, which he gained in exchange for a gambling debt. He poured money into modern equipment and had the good sense to hire some of the best writers of the time, including Mark Twain and Jack London. He succeeded in dominating the market.

The Examiner printing exhibit, at San Francisco's 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

The Examiner printing exhibit, at San Francisco’s 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

Although William Randolph Hearst already owned the San Francisco Examiner, inherited from his father, he was intent on tackling New York. With $7.5 million from sale of Anaconda Copper stock, he purchased the New York Morning Journal. Sold for a penny a sheet, therefore called a ‘penny paper.’ Hearst tackled the challenge with his usual zeal –  competing head-on with Joseph Pulitzer, owner and publisher of the New York World, from whom he “stole” Richard F. Outcault, the inventor of color comics, and all of Pulitzer’s Sunday staff as well. (The Press: The King Is Dead, Time, August 20, 1951)

There were sixteen competing papers in New York at the time. Hearst succeeded in trumping the others by his generous pay scale, providing bylines for the writers for the first time, and maintaining a dignified manner.


The art of the deal, William Randolph Hearst, Winston Churchill, Louis B. Meyer, Boulevardiers and Freemasons, 1930

Hearst changed the face of journalism. He created ‘yellow journalism’ which denotes scandalous headlines, spurious sources and lavish illustrations to capture the readers’ imagination. The name was derived from a cartoon starring bald babies in yellow nightshirts, titled Hogan’s Alley. Circulation peaked at 150,000. His sensationalism reached the height of audacity by allegedly starting the Spanish American War, when after receiving a telegram from the artist Fredric Remington claiming there was no war in Cuba, he responded: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Hearst even sailed there to report on the mistreatment of Cubans by the Spanish in an exemplary manner.


It was at this time that Hearst dove into Democratic politics. He ran for mayor, Senate (even backed by Tammany Hall), Governor of New York, and even President. He did succeed to hold two terms as a Congressman from New York’s 11th district. His empire grew to Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles, and Seattle with the ownership of the Seattle Post Intelligencer. By mid 1920s he had twenty-eight publications under his leadership. In 1924 he opened the New York Daily Mirror, a racy tabloid boldly imitating the New York Daily News, Among his other holdings were two news services, Universal News and International News Service, or INS, the latter of which he founded in 1909. He also owned INS companion radio station WINS in New York; King Features Syndicate, which still owns the copyrights of a number of popular comics characters; a film company, Cosmopolitan Productions; extensive New York City real estate; and thousands of acres of land in California and Mexico, along with timber and mining interests. (Wikipedia) The Hearst empire still owns a popular magazine, Cosmopolitan, and created a now dead publication Connoisseur in which this author published an article on the famed Aubusson tapestry.

Hearst did return in frustration in 1919 to the West Coast, and began to expand his empire in Los Angeles as well, with a Julia Morgan designed Examiner Building there. This began his life-long relationship with Ms. Morgan as his lead designer, culminating in the tour de force of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, along the central coast of California on a ranch his father had acquired years before. He was a very mercurial and demanding client. The project began in 1920, and was never really ‘finished’ but work was halted in 1938. Hearst left there in ill health to reside in Los Angeles, and sadly never returned to his beloved residence. Morgan visited almost every weekend, a distance of two hundred miles from San Francisco by train and car. She returned by night train on Sundays and appeared devotedly to her office every Monday morning. Her engineer was not as stout. William was eventually forced to move to Los Angeles by his health.

In 1903, Hearst married Millicent Veronica Willson (1882–1974), a 21-year-old chorus girl, in New York City. He envisioned a place where his family of five sons could enjoy the great outdoors. This was his greatest enterprise, and remains to this day one of the magnificent homes in the U.S. His propensity was for frequent mind changes, often to aggrandize the properties, sometimes lacking the necessary immediate funds. WRH collected antiquities voraciously his entire life, concentrating on Medieval Spanish design which formed the core of San Simeon. Most notable in his collection were his Greek vases, Spanish and Italian furniture, Oriental carpets, Renaissance vestments, an extensive library with many books signed by their authors, and paintings and statues from all over the globe. He took frequent trips to Europe to acquire his beloved objects, sometimes beyond his means.


Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA, photograph by Kim Steele




















Hearst Castle pool, San Simeon, CA, photograph by Kim Steele





















Hearst holdings included a million acres in Mexico, the Babicora Ranch. Hearst’s father, U.S. Senator George Hearst, had acquired land in the Mexican state of Chihuahua after receiving advance notice that Geronimo – who had terrorized settlers in the region – had surrendered. His mother expanded the holding as early as 1886. He wrote to his mother,  “I really don’t see what is to prevent us from owning all Mexico and running it to suit ourselves.” (David Nasaw, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph, Hearst, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001)


The Hearst Building, San Francisco, CA

The Hearst news empire reached a circulation and revenue peak about 1928, but the economic collapse of the Great Depression and the vast over-extension of his empire cost him control of his holdings. He never recovered nor did his holdings. He carried on as Publisher even visiting Berlin to interview Adolf Hitler. When Hitler asked why he was so misunderstood by the American press, Hearst retorted, “Because Americans believe in democracy, and are averse to dictatorship.” Hearst’s Sunday papers ran columns without rebuttal by Hermann Göring and Dr. Alfred Rosenberg.

Meanwhile Hearst had purchased the Welsh Vale of Glamorgan property, St. Donat’s Castle, and revitalized it in 1925 as a love gift to Marion Davies, the Hollywood comedic actress who became his life long mistress. This included building thirty-nine green and white marble bathrooms. Hearst and Davies spent much of their time entertaining and held a number of lavish parties, the guests at which included Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Winston Churchill, and a young John F. Kennedy. Upon visiting St. Donat’s, George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying: “This is what God would have built if he had had the money.” Hearst’s wife never visited the castle.

Late in his life, WRH planned another project, originally the Milpitas Ranch near the Mission of San Antonio de Padua, to be an elaborate hunting lodge to accommodate his romantic idea of guests riding on horseback, about thirty miles inland to Jolan. Today, it’s located inside Fort Hunter-Liggett and operated as a hotel. It was a great concrete reinforced Mission style hacienda complete with massive columns. The apartments linked to a grand dining room and a spectacular second floor domed receiving room.


The Hacienda, Milpitas, CA




Morgan continued to work for the family after his death, including for son George, who requested her to rework the Hillsborough home just south of San Francisco. But her most memorial work for him, aside from the Castle, was the corporate headquarters of Hearst Publications in San Francisco which begun in 1937 and stands to this day on a prominent intersection.  His spirit  lives on to this day with twenty-nine titles, including the important imprints of  Esquire and Town & Country, receiving nine nominations for the National Magazine Awards in 2015.


Marion Davies











 In suggesting gifts: Money is appropriate, and one size fits all. ~WRH


William Randolph Hearst was a Boulevardier in the truest sense of the word. He followed his beliefs, creatively shaped an industry and exhibited gorgeous taste while leaving behind a legacy that lives to this day. His eccentric tastes included a world renowned armor collection housed at his residence at 137 Riverside Drive, just up the street from this publisher’s NY home. The stately mansion, titled The Clarendon, had a Mansard top floor to present the pieces which he eventually bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum which displays them dramatically today.

William Randolph Hearst… a legend, and an inspiration to us Boulevardiers…

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