The Painting: The Palazzo Setting
One of Venice’s great examples of Italian Renaissance architecture, Palazzo Contarini Polignac takes its name from art and music patron Princess Winnaretta de Polignac, who lived there in the early 20th century and held frequent salons with guests including composers Igor Stravinsky and Ethel Smyth. Her own story is as lively as the palazzo’s history: Born in Yonkers, New York, de Polignac was the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune and aunt to then-style icon Daisy Fellowes, and became a key figure in the Paris cultural scene. Among the figures in her circle: Isadora Duncan, Le Corbusier, Jean Cocteau, Serge Diaghilev and Claude Monet.
Monet, by the way, once set up camp across Palazzo Contarini Polignac, painting its facade (and canal reflection) in 1908’s Le Palais Contarini.