L-R: Melagrana a 16th C. Turkish design, no pattern name, Crosoni an 18th C. French Directoire design discontinued, no pattern name, Corone a 17th C. Italian design, all early except the fourth, 1950’s , my photo
After the First World War Fortuny’s name began to attract a much larger public rather then just the elite. In 1919 Fortuny formed a new company called Societa Anonima Fortuny and set up a factory devoted exclusively to the production of his textiles. Up until this time Fortuny was doing all the production himself of designing, producing the dyes, the colors, the machines, and making the stencils for the printing in his private studio.
Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi
Elsie McNeill, later to become Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi, was an American interior decorator that had a flair for business. In 1927 she visited the Carnavalet Museum in Paris where she first saw Fortuny’s fabrics decorating the museum and became entranced by the quality and colors of his fabrics. She then traveled to Venice and persuaded Fortuny to give her the exclusive rights to sell his goods in the United States. This lead to a fruitful and long standing friendship that was to last until Fortuny passed in 1949.
My photo, rare 1920s Fortuny original fabrics used for pillows
After Fortuny’s death it was Elsie who kept the factory going to keep up the production of fabrics. In 1957 Henriette, Fortuny’s wife, offered their home Palazzo Orfei to the city of Venice with the condition that Fortuny’s vast studio be preserved intact with all of his collections. Their home is known as the Palazzo Fortuny and is now, as you all know a museum. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that Fortuny’s fabrics began to come into their own. Because of Elsie’s hard work his fabrics became better known in America than in Europe.
My photo, Original 1920s fabrics and a rare moorish design border
Thirty years after Fortuny’s death he had become a historical figure in the world of textile design, he had made his own life a work of art.
My photo, more 1920s Fortuny fabric designs, the bottom right pillow is an extremely rare strawberry color, all pillows for sale on my website Oreillers
Fortuny 1920 twill pillows for sale from Kathy Rousset Antiques
Close up of the twill fabric, look at the saturated color!
Large bold 1950 Fortuny pillows made by Todd Mossman, via Cote de Texas
My photo, 1950 Fortuny fabric
Fortunys’ entrance into the world of fabrics and clothing began with his love affair with the theater. He designed huge patterns for backdrops in order to be seen from a distance. I say huge because if you look at this fabric you won’t see a pattern repeat because the pattern measures over 90” tall! While my image doesn’t show the size that center pomegranate is over two feet tall.
This pattern while busy is also huge. That central stylized flower is bigger then my head. Fortuny still dabbled in the theater while manufacturing his textiles and today I’m happy to say his fabrics have once again entered the theater. Here's my secret....
Jonathan Rhys Meyers & Natalia Vodianova, My photo
Yes that’s right my early Fortuny fabrics and pillows were loaned out for the upcoming movie Belle Du Seigneur starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Natalia Vodianova. It’s an English-language adaptation of Albert Cohen's epic Swiss tale of a tortured love affair between a high-ranking Jewish official and the protestant wife of one of his employees. Natalia’s character Ariane collected vintage Fortuny and they were trying to keep the sets original to the book.
I don’t mind telling you that when I first saw this press release picture I was a little beside myself because the fabric is hanging SIDEWAYS! But you can see how big the pattern is behind their heads.
Set design from the filming of the movie with my textiles and pillows.
Another set view with my pillows and Fortuny hanging in the right direction!
My post here is very basic about Fortuny and his fabrics but if you want to learn more about this very talented man and his achievements I would suggest reading about his life in this book. It’s an amazing read! And if anyone is interested in an early Fortuny pillow I’m always here to see to your needs…;)
Have an amazing week my friends and next and last up in my Fortuny series some of his silk velvets!