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The World of Madeleine Castaing Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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"There was a rich vein of interior decorators in Paris in its mid-century decorative heyday, many of whom feature in this entrancing book. It elegantly delivers its title..." --Nicky Haslam, House & Garden UK
"EVERY NOW AND THEN in the continuing blizzard of books on design and decor somebody truly first rank gets left out. There is no good reason for this but it does make it very exciting when the book finally comes along that does justice to the omission. The long awaited World of Madeleine Castaing about the French interior designer who died in 1992 at age 98 is such a book It manages to be both love letter and catalogue raisonne devoted to this most charismatic and mysterious of great lady decorators." ~Wall Street Journal
"The World of Madeleine Castaing reflects the French designer's mantra, 'Be audacious, but with taste.' Her fabric patterns, many still in production, and her neoclassical-inspired interiors for Jean Cocteau, Francine Wesweiller, and others are the stuff of legend." ~Elle Decor
"Thanks to author Emily Evans Eerdmans, we now have The World of Madeleine Castaing, a wonderfully comprehensive work that tells Castaing's fascinating life story and provides many examples of her stylish and original take on turn-of-the-century decorating... The World of Madeleine Castaing establishes the decorator in the context of her peers and highlights her influences, predominately the English Regency and Napoleon III styles, which she makes fashionable again." ~New York Observer
About the Author
Jacques Grange is a world-famous interior decorator who worked with Madeleine Castaing in his early career.
Frédéric Castaing is Madeleine's grandson and is an historical autographs dealer in Paris.
More About the Author
She lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband Andrew and three cats, Augustus, Stubby and Fred Astaire.
Top Customer Reviews
No. That's too little praise. What a work of art. What an inspiration.
Look at the American decorating books of the last decade, and what you mostly see is how important it was for the clients --- and their compliant decorators --- to spend tons of money. And they didn't spend it just on the walls and rugs and art and furniture. They went right on to the little things, the chotchkes. Every possible surface has stuff on it; these rooms are busy. Your eye darts around, looking for an idea that centers the space, but there is none. Indeed, none was intended --- the overarching concept here was, apparently, to overwhelm the visitor.
Now let us open "The World of Madeleine Castaing" and consider any of the 275 color and black-and-white illustrations. They're not all the work of Madame Castaing, but the rooms designed by others have her sensibility: simplicity, boldness, originality. The color combinations are like nothing you've ever seen. Often the rooms are almost empty. Instead of a framed painting, you might find that Jean Cocteau has drawn on a wall.
Why isn't Madeleine Castaing a household name?
Because she's impossible to describe in a sound bite.
She was French --- born near Chartres in 1894, dead at age 98 in 1992 --- but you can't really say she was a French decorator. "I can take inspiration from a scene in Chekhov as from a dress by Goya," she said, and she wasn't kidding. In one of her rooms, you could be in Russia, in another room London. Most of the time, the mood she created was timeless, poetic, a fantasy. As she said, "There is always beauty in mystery."
She was, as you might guess, quite a character.Read more ›
Addition on 1/31/11: I would like to add that, several months after the release of this book and after several readings, I find it to be one of the most fascinating books on interior design that I have ever read. The author's insight and knowledge of Madame Castaing is total and profound. The book has literally opened my eyes and changed my focus on the interior design of my home; once a strict devotee of Art Nouveau, I am now seeking out examples of English Regency and Napoleon III. I happily canceled the scheduled painting of my flat and now make sure all the Coolie lampshades are prominently askew before turning off the lights each evening.
I did read the book in one evening, and I wondered if its editor actually read it herself. To say that the text is fulsome and overly familiar is a vast understatement. It reminds me of the society columns in Southern newspapers of my youth. It's as if the writer and the person she refers to as "Madeleine" and the empress she knows as "Josephine" are all very best friends. It's one gush after another. Many of the sentences have a subject, an unnessary adverb, the verb itself, followed by a lengthy ramble. However, I actually would buy it for the illustrations alone. Because I am an embittered old man, I know I will enjoy reading the text again, next time with a red pencil or three.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
what a character! My friend the designer Veere Grenney said: "Castaing was the one who made bamboo side tables and Leopard prints popular! Read morePublished 23 months ago by John D. Rozsa
Its always Surprising to learn how & why circumstances & real people influence design trends. Felt I'd taken a course, & so beautifully presented. Read morePublished on November 3, 2012 by Troy Ostrander
If you are a lover of Madeleine Castaing, this is the most comprehensive book out there. I own several books and magazine articles on her, but this combines them all! Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by T. Cheek
Finally the work of Madeleine Castaing received a proper treatment, in the same way that was done recently to other ladies decorators like Nancy Lancaster and Sister Parish. Read morePublished on December 7, 2010 by Renato Almeida
Exciting yet frustrating book. Short on facts, long on romantic gush that inadvertently creates a misleading impression that Castaing was an unimportant housewife decorator. Read morePublished on November 4, 2010 by Waterman Gap