In a career that spanned the 1940s through the 1990s, his photography appeared in magazines and newspapers such as Town & Country, House & Garden, Look and The New York Times Magazine and advertising campaigns for Borden Ice Cream, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Jell-O among other corporations.
De Evia was born in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. His mother was Pauline Joutard (1890–1957), a French-born pianist who performed under the stage name Miirrha Alhambra. His father was Domingo Fernando Evia y Barbachano (1883–1977), a wealthy landowner who was a member of two families that have been prominent in the politics and culture of Yucatán since the mid 19th century, one of which, the Barbachanos, has been described as "one of the most powerful of Yucatán's oligarchy."
His great-grandfather Don Miguel Barbachano y Tarrazo (1806–1859) was a five-time governor of Yucatán and the patriarch of a clan that was instrumental in developing the Mexican resorts of Cozumel and Playas de Rosarito in Baja California Norte and in popularizing the ruins of Chichen Itza as a tourist attraction. Among his cousins was Manuel Barbachano Ponce, the Mexican film producer and director.
Robert Denning in photograph taken by Edgar de Evia in the 1950s
Robert Denning (March 13, 1927–August 26, 2005) was an American interior designer whose lush interpretations of French Victorian decor became an emblem of corporate raider tastes in the 1980s. He was just fifteen when he met Edgar de Evia. As Edgar's career as a professional photographer launched, Bob and Edgar formed "Edgar deEvia Associates". Later after the success of the Body by Fisher campaign for General Motors with photos by deEvia they also formed "Edgar de Evia Associates of Greenwich."
Private Collection David McJonathan. David McJonathan-Swarm taken by photographer Edgar de Evia about 1968.
Edgar de Evia (July 30, 1910 – February 10, 2003) was a Mexican-born American photographer. From 1966 until his death, de Evia's companion and business partner was David McJonathan-Swarm. In a career that spanned the 1940s through the 1990s, his photography appeared in magazines and newspapers such as Town & Country, House & Garden, Look and The New York Times Magazine and advertising campaigns for Borden Ice Cream, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Jell-O among other corporations.
Edgar de Evia was often using the ornate backgrounds of the historic Rhinelander Mansion in New York—much of which he leased in the 1950s and 1960s, used as his residence, and often rented out portions of as studios and offices. The Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo House is a French Renaissance revival mansion located at 867 Madison Avenue on the corner of East 72nd Street in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Completed in 1898 and specifically credited to Alexander Mackintosh.
Private Collection David McJonathan. Photograph of David McJonathan-Swarm in front of 1 World Trade Center under construction taken by photographer Edgar de Evia in the 1969.
Private Collection David McJonathan. Fashion Model Sunny Harnett in a photo taken by photographer Edgar de Evia
Private Collection David McJonathan. A male nude taken by photographer Edgar de Evia in the 1970s.
Private Collection David McJonathan. Dovima a supermodel for a fur client taken by photographer Edgar de Evia in the 1950s.
Private Collection David McJonathan. The Little Church Around the Corner (The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, NYC) taken by photographer Edgar de Evia around 1990.
On 30 June 1912, at the age of two, Evia arrived with his family in New York City aboard the liner "Progreso". He graduated from The Dalton School in 1931.
Based on immigration and other official records, it appears that Evia altered his surname to de Evia sometime after 1942, at which time he was using the professional name Edgar D. Evia.
Edgar served as the research assistant to Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns, a homeopathic physician with whom he wrote and published articles and one book about homeopathy.
For Laurie's Domestic Medicine, a medical guide published in 1942, Stearns and Edgar D. Evia contributed an essay called "The New Synthesis", which was expanded that same year into a book entitled "The Physical Basis of Homeopathy and the New Synthesis". In the New England Journal of Homeopathy (Spring/Summer 2001, Vol. 10, No. 1), Richard Moskowitz, MD, called the Stearns-Evia article "a cutting-edge essay into homeopathic research that prophesied and actually began the development of kinesiology, made original contributions to radionics, and dared to sketch out a philosophy of these still esoteric frontiers of homeopathy at a time when such matters were a lot further beyond the pale of respectable science even than they are today."
Frequently producing images utilizing soft focus and diffusion, de Evia was dubbed a "master of still life" in the 1957 publication Popular Photography Color Annual. In a review of the book, The New York Times stated that "Black and white [photography] is frequently interspersed through the book and serves as a reminder that black and white still has a useful place, even in a world of color, often more convincingly as well. This is pointed up rather persuasively in the portfolio on Edgar de Evia as a 'master of still life' and in the one devoted to the work of Rene Groebil." "Editorial high-key food photography was introduced by Edgar D'Evia in 1953 for the pages of Good Housekeeping."
William A. Reedy, editor of Applied Photography, in a 1970 interview for the Eastman Kodak publication Studio Light/Commercial Camera, wrote that de Evia:
"has been a photographic illustrator in New York City for many years. His work has helped sell automobiles, food, drink, furniture and countless other products. To fashion accounts he has been known as a fashion photographer, while food people think of him as a specialist in still life. While, in fact, he is a photographer, period. He applies his considerable talent and experience to whatever the problem at hand."Melvin Sokolsky, a fashion photographer who has created iconic images for Harpers Bazaar and Vogue, considered Edgar de Evia one of his earliest influences, saying, "I discovered that Edgar was paid $4,000 for a Jell-O ad, and the idea of escaping from my tenement dwelling became an incredible dream and inspiration."
In 1968, de Evia founded and served as creative director of a catalogue-photography company that produced photographs for a number of department-store catalogs which included Sakowitz and Gimbels.
Often using the ornate backgrounds of the historic Rhinelander Mansion in New York—much of which he leased in the 1950s and 1960s, used as his residence, and often rented out portions of as studios and offices—de Evia was hired, through his agent, David Chimay, to photograph fashion models in assignments for fashion magazines and commercial advertising.
De Evia also produced commissioned photographic portraits of individuals well known in the social, film, music, and theatre worlds, including Ethel Fogg (Mrs. William Brooks Clift), mother of Montgomery Clift; Erik Rhodes, American film and Broadway singer and actor; Nordstrom Sisters, American sister act, international cabaret singers; Roman Totenberg, Polish-American violinist and Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer.
De Evia worked prolifically for Applied Photography, Town & Country, Vogue, Vogue Paris, Architectural Digest, Glamour, Bride's, Good Housekeeping, Art and Antiques Magazine, House & Garden, Home, Maison & Jardin, Vogue Decoration, Look, Shaggy Lamb Fashion, The New York Times Magazine, McCall's, Ladies' Home Journal, New York Magazine (December 19, 1988 Feature article on de Evia and his apartment), After Dark, Art Direction, Photography, Popular Photography, Women's Wear Daily and W.
According to records held by the Condé Nast Publications Library, in 1984 alone, de Evia had 193 photographs published in House & Garden, primarily of interiors of houses owned by individuals such as Helen Hayes and Gloria Vanderbilt. The Condé Nast Publication Library is an archive facility which holds, among other things, thousands of typewritten 3 x 5 cards which serve as an early index to all photographers and writers (as well as subjects and celebrities) whose work was published in any and all Condé Nast magazines from the early 1900s until the 1990s, when all such material was put on computer. In the case of photographers, for instance, the cards list in which issue and on which page number an image (or images) by that particular photographer appeared on. According to these index cards, more than 1,000 photographs by de Evia were published in Condé Nast magazines, on subjects ranging from fashion to food to interiors. These were printed in Vogue, Architectural Digest, and other magazines, from the 1950s until the 1990s.
De Evia worked for Beautyrest by Simmons (1959), Borden Ice Cream (Lady Borden campaign 1956–1960), Celanese Corporation, Empress Chinchilla (fur ads), Fieldcrest, Gorham Silver, hats by Mr. John of John-Frederics, Herman Miller Office Furniture (1957 campaign), Leather Industries of America, Maximilian Furs (1950s, all ads had the credit "DeEvia"), McCall's patterns (all ads had the credit "Photograph by Edgar de Evia"), Milliken (1970 Breakfast Show program), Myrurgia (Maja Perfume 1964 Ad with credit "DeEvia"), Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation (Life Fiberglas campaign 1958) and Steinway & Sons (1967 catalog).
Edgar de Evia, age 92, died at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City from pneumonia following a broken hip. His ashes were interred in the columbarium of the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City.
Robert Denning (March 13, 1927 – August 26, 2005) was an American interior designer whose lush interpretations of French Victorian decor became an emblem of corporate raider tastes in the 1980s. (P: Robert Denning sitting in front of a portrait of Vincent Fourcade)
Born Robert Dennis Besser to Jean (née Rosen) and Jacob Besser, Denning, as he was often called, developed an early interest in his body and health, a characteristic instilled in him by his mother. He was just fifteen when he met Edgar de Evia who was the research assistant to Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns and would go on to become a noted photographer. He became a testing subject for this Homeopathic medical research and when his parents and younger brother moved to Florida, he stayed in New York City living with de Evia and his mother Miirrha Alhambra. He would often say that he saw his first lampshade in this home, as he grew up with a bare bulb being adequate. His first effort with decorating was perhaps in imitation of Syrie Maugham when Edgar and he, painted everything in Miirrha's room white and put her bed on a dais. Her only response was: "Did you have to paint even my Baccarat perfume bottles?" He never used white again.
David Chimay and Robert Denning were early associates of Edgar's. As Edgar's career as a professional photographer launched, Bob and Edgar formed "Edgar de Evia Associates" and retained David Chimay as their agent. Later after the success of the Body by Fisher campaign for General Motors with photos by deEvia they also formed "Edgar de Evia Associates of Greenwich."
Bob in the early 1960's went on in partnership with Vincent Fourcade to form Denning & Fourcade the renowned decorating firm that has done many homes on both sides of the Atlantic. Vincent Fourcade (1934–1992) worked for 33 years with his partner, Robert Denning, and was known for his opulent style.
Robert Denning and Edgar de Evia in Robert Denning's apartment at the Lombardy Hotel, 2002
Casual grandeur: The decorators Robert Denning, left, and Vincent Fourcade, in 1988. Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
Robert Denning in the early 1960's went on in partnership with Vincent Fourcade to form Denning & Fourcade the renowned decorating firm that has done many homes on both sides of the Atlantic. Vincent Fourcade (1934–1992) worked for 33 years with his partner, Robert Denning, and was known for his opulent style. Denning 'reinvented' himself to use his own word, after Vincent Fourcade's death from AIDS in 1992. He died in his apartment in the Lombardy Hotel in New York City in 2005.
Feliciano Photography, originally published in House & Garden. This Manhattan apartment bears the opulent stamp of Denning & Fourcade. But Denning was no snob; he thought nothing of suggesting a folding plastic table from a drugstore for a decorative accessory. Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
David Chimay and Robert Denning
Robert Denning's Manhattan apartment (http://www.doylenewyork.com/pr/denning/denning.htm)
Robert Denning's Manhattan apartment
Denning and Fourcade's Paris apartment
Denning and Fourcade's Bridgehampton House
In 1985 Fourcade decorated a Manhattan apartment for fashion designer Carolyne Roehm and her then husband, financier Henry Kravis. The dining room walls were marbleized. Photography by Karen Radkai, Edgar de Evia, Marina Faust (http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architecture/archive/fourcade_slideshow_012000)
Fourcade chose rich brocades and deep colors for the living room.
The living room of an apartment that Denning and Fourcade shared in Paris and decorated in the late 1980s was “rather tame compared with rooms we did for our clients,” said Denning. A screen provided the “shot of red” that Fourcade recommended for every room.
For the Paris apartment’s master bedroom, the partners chose an Italian Empire bed, a 19th-century Russian chandelier and a pair of tasseled 19th-century French bergères. Signature touches included plenty of lamps and double- and triple-hung oil paintings.
Robert Denning (March 13, 1927 – August 26, 2005) was an American interior designer whose lush interpretations of French Victorian decor became an emblem of corporate raider tastes in the 1980s. During the last decade of his life he tired of Paris, giving up his home that he had shared with Vincent in the 17th arrondissment. He was content in the familiar surroundings of his home and offices in the Lombardy Hotel in New York City, where both the lobby and restaurant were of his design.
From 1960 the firm of Denning & Fourcade would become known for colorful extravagance and over the top opulence. Clients beginning with Michel David-Weill; the Ogden Phipps family, for whom they did fifteen houses; Henry Kravis, whose home, and their decorating, was parodied in the 1990 movie "The Bonfire of the Vanities" with Tom Hanks; Charles and Jayne Wrightsman; Henry Kissinger; Diana Ross; Oscar de la Renta both in Manhattan and Connecticut; Beatriz and Antenor Patiño, the Bolivian tin magnate and Jean Vanderbilt, to name only a few, began to roll in. Soon they were established and known for creating an established and 'old money' atmosphere anywhere. For thirty years they were courted on both sides of the Atlantic. Denning kept the fragrance Sous Le Vent in his automobiles to remind him of Lillian Bostwick Phipps who always wore the scent. Longtime clients such as Spencer Hays, the Richard Merillats for whom he has designed homes in Naples, Florida and Michigan, the Countess Rattazzi, for whom he did homes in Manhattan, South America and Italy (15 houses in all) looked forward to shopping sprees with him be it in the wholesale import markets in New York City or the Paris flea market. Denning's five story townhouse for Phyllis Cerf Wagner is described as: "... cozy and grand at the same time, but not elaborately fussy."
Eugenia Sheppard of the New York Herald Tribune dubbed their work "Le Style Rothschild." It reeked de l'argent. "Outrageous luxury is what our clients want," Denning & Fourcade said. This was the 1980s, the era of instant wealth. They visually defined it, giving crisp money the appearance of provenance and what Denning called "a casual English attitude about grandeur."
Often perceived as "...the Odd Couple. Boyish, down-to-earth Denning is the hardest worker, while Fourcade sniffs the client air to gauge if it's socially registered before he goes beyond the fringe." Jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane developed a passion for art pieces from the Middle East which the firm was in the vanguard of introducing and has also used some of their lighting treatments. Denning designed Jason Epstein's SoHo home from scratch in the shell of the building that housed the first consolidated New York police department. This was an entirely new effort for the designer who is known by many to specialize in a period "we'd call early-fringed-lampshade, but chic".
They would also amass a large collection of artwork and bronzes. They would commission original works of art and collect many of the same artists that they would recommend to their clients.
Denning 'reinvented' himself to use his own word, after Vincent Fourcade's death from AIDS in 1992. Taking a lighter approach with more emphasis on effect and comfort than signed pieces of furniture, he used to laugh at how he would coach his early clients with decorating their children and grandchildren's homes. He was listed in the AD100, top hundred decorators by Architectural Digest for a number of years and once said: "I'll accept commissions from anyone who isn't frightened by my proposals." Also listed in New York The Top 100 Architects & Decorators and The New York Times Magazine in an article "Who Made It" he was listed as one of 15 interior designers who had become "celebrities in their own right".
Technology permitting, Robert Denning would happily return to the nineteenth century. Since he can't, he devotes himself to re-creating – with international mixes of opulent furniture – the sumptuous interiors of his favorite era, using damask, silks, and taffetas.
His jobs have appeared not only in AD's pages, but those of every major magazine with home interiors. He always participated in charity benefits such as the auction to benefit Friends In Deed, a counseling organization for people with AIDS and cancer to decorating the main foyer of the von Stade mansion to benefit Southampton's Rogers Memorial Library. He was one of the decorators that contributed to the restoration of the 1932, 50 room mansion, of William Goadby Loew for the Smithers Alcoholism Treatment and Training Center on Manhattan's upper East side. "A sense of humor overlaying a deep commitment to style and a consuming passion for detail characterize all of Denning's work."
During the last decade of his life he tired of Paris, giving up his home that he had shared with Vincent in the 17th arrondissment. He was content in the familiar surroundings of his home and offices in the Lombardy Hotel in New York City, where both the lobby and restaurant were of his design.
He died in his apartment in New York City in 2005. His personal estate was featured in an auction at Doyle New York on May 17, 2006.
Vincent Gabriel Fourcade (27 February 1934 – 23 December 1992) was a French interior designer and the business and life partner of Robert Denning. "Outrageous luxury is what our clients want," he once said.
"Born...to a family of distinguished French aesthetes, the designer spent many of his formative years in a twenty-bedroom house replete with made-to-order Majorelle furnishings." "I learned my trade by going out every evening as a young man," he told art historian Rosamond Bernier. "I went to every pretty house in France and Italy and other places too, and I remembered them all, even down to what was on each little table." Vincent was educated at University College London.
A handsome eligible bachelor, he was never without invitations in the United States either. He tried a career in banking, the business of his father and grandfather in Paris. He met Robert Denning in 1959. Denning a protégé of Edgar de Evia, had acquired an eye for design and effect from working with the photographer on sets for many fabric and furniture accounts, and with whom he shared one of the most magnificent Manhattan apartments on the top three floors of the Rhinelander Mansion. It would be here that early clients such as Lillian Bostwick Phipps and her husband Ogden Phipps would be entertained as de Evia was spending more and more time on his estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. While Vincent would take Ogden Phipps to good dealers where he would spend millions of dollars on signed pieces of French furniture, Bob would take Lillian Bostwick Phipps down to 11th Street. "It infuriated Vincent. He used to say 'Bobby, you have ruined the Phippses for me by giving Mrs. Phipps that strange appetite for 11th Street.'"
Slowly the pair became known for an extreme of luxury compared to le goût Rothschild. An early party that they styled included covering the floor with a hundred old raccoon coats. In 1960 they formed the firm of Denning & Fourcade, Inc. which would for over forty-five years set a standard for a list of clients that read like a social registry. Referred to in New York magazine as "...the Odd Couple. Boyish, down-to-earth Denning is the hardest worker, while Fourcade sniffs the client air to gauge if it's socially registered before he goes beyond the fringe." Early clients included old friends that he had known socially such as Michel David-Weill. Jackie Kennedy met his mark and two of her notes to him survive, the first thanking him for his letter after the assassination of her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy, with the cancellation over her signature since as the widow of a president of the United States she still had franking privileges. She lost this when she remarried. The other, a handwritten note postmarked 28 October 1976 over a thirteen cent stamp —
Dear Vincent, I have never eaten such delicious food in such incredibly beautiful surroundings in my life. Thank you so very very much. affectionately Jackie.
The return address also handwritten – Onassis, 1040 5th Ave.
Early in the 1980s Fourcade contracted AIDS. He kept his looks and strength through most of that decade as Denning and he would divide their time between New York and Paris, crossing the Atlantic on the Concorde. His older brother Xavier Fourcade, the internationally known contemporary art dealer, died of the disease in 1987 at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.
By 1990 the disease would take control his life and early in 1992 Denning & Fourcade would with a nurse take the Concorde one last time to Paris where he would live his remaining days in their apartment at 16 rue de Chazelles, just up the street from the studio of the sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi who is best known for the Statue of Liberty.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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