Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Painting She Did Not Like

In the late 1980's, while researching Madam Valentino, my friend Father Michael Morris worked closely with Natacha Rambova's cousin Ann Wollen. Ann told Michael how Natacha hated a certain portrait painted of her and that she kept it hidden. There was also an incident where the portrait was installed in the Hudnut chateau on the French Riviera and Natacha was furious. It was removed.

The painting was executed by the Hudnut chateau resident artist, Paul Joanowitch, known also as Paul Ivanovitch. What a grand life style to have a resident artist! Paul Ivanovitch was Austrian, his home in Vienna and for a while the Hudnuts employed him to paint the entire family and more. (From Beyond Valentino)

Ivanovitch painted Richard Hudnut, Muzzie Hudnut (see Beyond Valentino for these images). He also painted a portrait of theosophist Helena Blavatsky. Michael Morris took me to see this painting in Los Angeles many years ago and this (below) is the photo I took that day.

The one portrait Ivanovitch painted which I could not find was of Hudnut friend and psychic George Wehner. It is written about and spoken of but I could not find it. Maybe someday.

This (below) is the Ivanovitch portrait Natacha was not so fond of. I think it is interesting to analyze why she did not like it. My theory is that it portrayed her as too diaphanous, too light and breezy. She wanted to have a stronger impression.

The paintings are part of the permanent collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. (Image from Beyond Valentino)


  1. Love this portrait of Natasha even though she did not like it , I think she looks stunning.

  2. I agree that the dress, while stunning, is not the image Rambova wanted to portray. Perhaps it was too movie-starish.