Hamish Bowles, a European Editor at Large of Vogue was recently asked, "Who’s the greatest model of all time and why?"
His response…."MaechesaCasati, who is one of the most astonishing, extreme personages of the age. She really understood how to project in all her portraits, weather they were by Boldini or Man Ray"
Adolf de Meyer’s portrait of Casati that appeared in Camera Work 40
is one of the most beautiful photogravures ever printed.
… "There are parts of the life of Adolf de Meyer that are shrouded in mystery, his origins are not entirely clear, whether he was actually a Baron even though he referred to himself as one, and his homosexuality is confused by his marriage to Olga. The one thing that is clear is his pictorialist style of photography had a considerable influence on fashion photography in Vogue with the use of soft focus lens and lighting.
If we examine the images from 1900 they show the style of fashion photography that was common at that period – basically very boring. It was in the decade that followed that he really developed a different style as the later photographs show. He was a member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood that was promoting pictorialism through its exhibition and this connection gave De Meyer access to people of social standing and photographers of influence. The soft focused shots with refined elegance imparted a misty desirable world of upper class society.
His photographs were highly regarded by Alfred Stieglitz who showed them at his 291 Gallery in New York and they were included as photogravures in the seminal publication Camera Work – particularly Issue 40 in 1912. It is perhaps no coincidence that De Meyer was hired by Vogue the following year."