MISIA would not SERT on yer ferce, mmker, she was too clerssy.Posted: September 22, 2012
Let’s be honest: Not all of us have good taste. But — thank God and natural selection — there are people that have fantastic taste who keep the world spinning round. And keep people like me from jumping off of a bridge.
One of those people was Misia Sert.
Imagine if Hilary Clinton were a sex-bomb who had several husbands, lovers, experimental friendships, and a drug addiction. And supreme sway over high culture, art, and aesthetic opinion.
That was Misia Sert. Or maybe she was more like Beyoncé with Anna Wintour, and a hint of Gaga.
Whatever. There is no combination that can add up to the biggest baddest slice o’ ass that was MISIA SERT.
Listen. This is how I spend my free time. I saw that the Musée d’Orsay was having a special exhibit on Misia Sert and I wanted to know why I didn’t know who Misia Sert was. Because I know everything about everyone.
Turns out I don’t know anyone and Misia Sert knew EVERYONE. She probably knew me before I was even born. Probably not, because she infamously only gave you the time of day if you were incredibly gifted. Aka, if you didn’t matter, she did not give a single fuck.
Let me give you an idea of the people Misia liked to chill with: Chanel, Debussy, Diagheliv, Stravinsky, Monet, Proust, Renoir, Redon, Mallarmé, Toulouse-Lautrec, the list goes on. (SPOILER ALERT: She most likely slept with about half of them. The other half fantasized.)
Misia was born on March 30, 1872. I just spent five minutes googling what the hell happened in 1872 only to decide the most important thing was probably that this bitch was brought into the world. Her mother died in childbirth (sad) and her Dad sent her away to live with relatives, and then sent her to a convent boarding school.
Sidenote: Misia’s mother was traveling to surprise her father when she found him living with his mistress, right before she died giving birth. What a dick. (I know, double standard, Misia is a bad-ass if she has extra-marital affairs and her dad is a douche. I don’t pretend to be unbiased here.)
Also, when she was living with her grandparents in Brussels, their close family friend was Liszt. Remember that guy? So now you understand the kind of bar that was set for Misia at a young age.
Skip ahead to Misia’s 21st year on the earth. She decides to marry her cousin (maybe after taking 21 shots? who knows). His name was Thadée Natanson. With this marriage she started a trend of, as this rather eloquent book review put it, taking husbands rather than lovers. Marriage is the new one-night stand. What a trendsetter.
Thadée ran La revue blanche with his brothers, which was more or less The Paris Review of the day. It also gave her an excuse to throw swanky parties and socialize with the who’s who – schmooze and talk about art, make multi-colored mixed drinks (bartended by Toulouse-Lautrec), experiment with drugs, and pass the fuck out. Misia once had a party in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Girl knew how to have a good time.
So shit got a little fucked, as shit is bound to do. Thadée needed some moolah to run his little literary operation, and Alfred Edwards — a big name in the paper biz — gave him the money under one condition: He got some one-on-one time with Miss Misia. GROSS. Reminds me of this last season of Mad Men, for all y’all who know what I’m sayin’.
Misia ends up MARRYING Edwards (VOMIT) but it’s okay because he’s filthy rich and she continues to be trendy, famous, and the adored subject of painting and poetry at the time. I guess Renoir was desperate to paint her topless, but she wouldn’t let him because her husband was in the next room. Respect.
SO Edwards ended up cheating on Misia (saw that one coming) and Misia doesn’t put up with dat kinda bullsheeeeet so she peaced and shortly after married the prominent Spanish painter José-Maria Sert. Although she was quoted saying that Sert was the only man to truly please her in the boudoir, their marriage was a bit of a mess (a tumultuous relationship with a Spaniard? stop it).
I will say that this specific tumult was kinda kinky. Sert was involved with a member of the Russian Mdivani family, Princess Isabelle Roussadana Mdivana, or “Roussy.” And we all know what rhymes with Roussy. Anyhow, Misia got a little pissy, and then — either out of a desire for revenge or out of sheer curiosity — she decides to take a ride on the Roussy wagon too. Before you know it (and we knew it), Roussy, Misia, and Sert had a little ménage á trois going on.
A little bit later (this is an abridged history, okay?) Misia strikes up a close friendship with none other than COCO FUCKING CHANEL. Supposedly they were only super good friends that shared their emotions and got drunk and fucked up, but who believes that really.
Maybe real historians, but I guess what I’m getting at is I’m not a real historian.
MORAL: Improve your social life. Fast. To feel better about yourself.