Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roman Spring of Mr. Gendel

I was not familiar with Milton Gendel until I read the November issue of Vanity Fair. Gendel, an American who has lived in Rome for close to sixty years, decamped to Italy following World War II, working as a cultural and public relations consultant at Olivetti and later at Alitalia. In addition, he has been a correspondent at ArtNews since 1954. But what Gendel is really noted for- and what earned him an article in Vanity Fair- are his photographs of his friends. Having traveled in rarefied circles for decades, Gendel's friends have included the likes of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, the Cushing Sisters, Lady Diana Cooper, and Stavros Niarchos. Needless to say, these are no ordinary photographs of ordinary friends.

The 92 year old certainly seems to be having a "moment" what with two concurrent retrospectives of his photographs. The American Academy in Rome is currently exhibiting "Milton Gendel: Portraits" through the end of this month, while a second show at Museo Carlo Bilotti runs until January 8, 2012. Gendel also recently moved to a new apartment after having lived in some fabulous apartments in various Roman palazzos. Coincidentally, I just found a 1992 House & Garden article on his former apartment in a Renaissance palazzo. For those of you who recently read the Vanity Fair article, I thought it would be interesting to show the 1992 apartment photos here.

The master bedroom.

Gendel's study.

The library.

A detail shot of the sitting room's ceiling. The 17th century polychrome ceiling depicts an array of birds, including a turkey from the New World. A shot of the sitting room itself is at the very top of the post.

Another shot of the sitting room.

All photos from the November 1992 issue of House & Garden, Oberto Gili photographer.


  1. I am yet to read my issue of vanity fair. great post about a well lived life!

  2. Jennifer. I love seeing Milton's apartments. He is a true gentleman and charmer. His apartments reflect his art- eclectic and surprising & His photography reflects the same. I am actually working on a collaborative project with him on some of his personal photographs and memories which are truly a treasure. pgt

  3. Francine, it's a great issue. The article about Courtney Love is crazy.

  4. Lovely post. I haven't seen the Vanity Fair article yet, but now will have to pick it up! The classic and original walls, plaster, murals, and ceiling are stunning, not to mention the artwork and the shot of the library.

    In addition to great style, Gendel seems like a wonderful character. Really fabulous: thanks so much for sharing! - Tyra

  5. How appropriate,just read the article in VF about Milton G on the plane. Your research made the article complete for me. Grand post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  6. Thank you so much for this. I was fascinated by the VF article and your post was a winning compliment to it. Why one would ever leave such a palazzo is beyond me--unless of course, he had no choice...?

  7. Provence- I'm assuming that he had to as these were rental apartments. I can't imagine having to move from such beautiful surroundings!

  8. The art and objects--all things that move, although the library relocation will be tough. I can only imagine that his new apartment will also be amazing. Thanks for this great post.

  9. those floors - the tiles - they are stunning!!!hope you have a happy thanksgiving!