Greater than Gatsby: Mona Bismarck 

Greater than Gatsby: Mona Bismarck 

The 2019 Symposium on the Arts of France


Wednesday, June 5 at 11:30 a.m.
Individual Lecture Tickets: $45
54 W. Chicago Avenue

Register now

Coffee is served at 11:00 a.m. The lecture begins at 11:30 a.m. 

Five times wed – into the richest family in Wisconsin, to the handsomest man in America, to the richest man in America, to the grandson of Otto von Bismarck, and to an Italian count – Mona Strader, raised on a Kentucky horse farm, was regarded as a sociological marvel.  Living chiefly in France during the entre guerre period, she moved among the social elite of Paris, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Baron Guy de Rothschild, Baron Alexis de Redé, Lady Diana Mosley, Cole Porter, and many others.

She was photographed by Cecil Beaton and painted by Salvador Dali, and appeared over fifty times in Vogue.  Parisian couturiers named her the Best Dressed Woman in the World in 1933, and her wardrobe included couture by Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Hubert de Givenchy. Countess Mona Bismarck died in Paris in 1983, and her home in the fashion district became the Bismarck Center for American Culture.  

James D. Birchfield, a Florida native, is former Curator of Rare Books at the University of Kentucky.  He is the author of Clay Lancaster’s Kentucky: Photographs of a Preservation Pioneer (2006), Mona Bismarck in Art and Fashion (1997), as well as articles on art, architecture, the decorative arts, literature, and printing history.

The Symposium on the Arts of France is not only a museum quality lecture program at the Alliance, it provides funding for our Cultural, Educational and Outreach programming each year.

Opportunities are still available for Grand Patron and Patron sponsorships. Please call Conery Hoffman at 312 337-1070 for more information on sponsorship benefits.