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Misia Sert
Birth: Mar. 30, 1872
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia
Death: Oct. 15, 1950
Paris
City of Paris
Īle-de-France, France

Pianist, Art Patron, Folk Figure. A noted beauty of her day called "La Polonaise", she used a combination of her brains, artistic acumen, great legs, musical talent, good looks, and husbands' money to establish herself at the center of Parisian cultural life from the dawn of the 20th century to the start of World War II. Born Maria Zofia Olga Zenajda Godebska to a Polish sculptor father and Russian-Belgian mother who died giving birth to her and from whom she inherited her musical aptitude, she was raised in Brussels, Paris, and London and was emotionally abandoned early in life, though she was materially well cared for. According to legend, she was a prodigy on the piano who even favorably impressed the great Franz Liszt, though she is said to have formed a dislike for him. Upon moving to Paris, she became a student of composer Gabriel Faure, also the teacher of Maurice Ravel; in her mid-teens Misia married Tadeusz Natanson, publisher of the political rag "La Revue Blanche", and quickly became part of the Paris arts scene. Around 1903 severe financial reversals forced Natanson to "sell" Misia to newspaper magnate Alfred Edwards; though personally repulsed by the older and rather crude Edwards, she liked his money and soon used his massive wealth to turn their home into a premier literary and artistic salon. Painters Pierre Renoir, Edouard Vuillard, Felix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec all sought her counsel and depicted her beauty; Toulouse-Lautrec used her as a model for his 1896 poster for "La Revue Blanche" while Renoir painted her around eight times, though Misia never allowed him to fulfill his dream of rendering her naked, a decision for which she later expressed regret. She befrinded and influenced poet Stephane Mallarme and designer Coco Chanel, while the musical elite all recognized that she had skill, enough that she taught piano students that Faure was too busy to handle and served as an accompanist for Enrico Caruso in a program of Neapolitan songs, and sound judgement, as well as a healthy checkbook. On the record, she did far more good than harm with her power, though at one point she made the director of the Paris Conservatory resign over his poor treatment of Ravel. Misia sponsored Serge Diaghilev's "Ballets Russes", reconciled Stravinsky and Diaghilev's differences over cuts to "The Rite of Spring", financally supported Claude Debussy's abandoned wife while simultaneously remaining friends with Debussy, and saved the premiere of Stravinsky's "Petrushka" by paying for the costumes; a grateful Ravel was to dedicate his compositions "The Waltz" and "The Swan" to her, while pianist Eric Satie honoured her with "Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear". Eventually Misia lost Edwards, though not all his money, to a younger girl; her third husband was Spanish painter Jose-Maria Sert but the pattern of loss-to-a-younger was to be repeated, though the couple did for a time share the sexual favors of Sert's mistress "Roussy". The coming of World War II essentially ended Misia's salon and its attendant power; her final years were to be marred by morphine addiction and near blindness. Misia's memoirs were posthumously published in 1952, her story was told by Arthur Gold in 1992's "Misia: The Life of Misia Sert", and she was fictionalized in Jean Cocteau's "Thomas the Imposter" and in Marcel Proust's "In Search of Lost Time". Today she can be visited at several major galleries while in 2012 Paris' Musee d'Orsay staged an exhibit entitled "Misia, Queen of Paris". At her death, her friend, co-dependent fellow addict, and longtime lover Coco Chanel said: "We love people only for their faults. Misia gave me ample reason to love her". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Cimetiere de Samoreau
Samoreau
Departement de Seine-et-Marne
Īle-de-France, France
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Aug 31, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29458050
Misia Sert
Added by: Anthony S
 
Misia Sert
Added by: julia&keld
 
Misia Sert
Added by: julia&keld
 
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- Janis Coleman
 Added: Oct. 15, 2016

- Bob Hufford
 Added: Oct. 15, 2016

- chris graziano
 Added: Mar. 30, 2016
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