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Eyre de Lanux papers, 1865-1995

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Jayna M. Hanson and Valerie Komar
Scope and Contents
The papers of portrait painter, writer, and furnishings designer, Eyre de Lanux (1894-1996) measure 10.6 linear feet and date from 1865 to 1995. The papers reflect Eyre's personal life in Paris with her husband, Pierre de Lanux and her travels with longtime lover Paolo Casagrande. The bulk of the collection consists of diaries spanning 1922 to 1988 and correspondence. Also found are de Lanux's sketches and drawings, some of which depict Parisian scenes and portraits of her lovers and friends. Other materials found include biographical information, personal business records, writings and notes including short stories, research files on Tobias Lear and Wilson Eyre, printed materials, and scattered photographs.
Biographical records include various membership certificates, medical records, travel papers and tickets, and a transcript of a psychic reading. Also found is a sound recording concerning Pierre de Lanux.
Personal business records consist of addresses, a personal calendar, consignment and loan agreements concerning the sale of Eyre's art collection, miscellaneous receipts, rental and lodging forms, stocks, and a copy of a will.
Correspondence spans the years 1922 until 1995 and includes an extensive exchange between Eyre and her husband Pierre, her lover Paolo Casagrande, and her daughter Anne Strong (Bikou.) Other notable correspondents include Louis Aragon, Natalie Barney, Betsy Fahlman, Consuelo Ford, Alexander Lenard, and Evelyn Wyld. Much of the correspondence is personal in nature, however a folder of correspondence between Eyre and her literary editors is found at the end of the series.
The papers include sixty-four diaries dating from 1922 through 1988; there are no diaries for the period 1927 to 1947 with the exception of two small notebooks dated 1938 and 1945. The diaries resume in 1948, with Eyre's arrival in Rome, and continue, with multiple volumes for most years, until the late 1980s when her eyes failed. The handwriting is difficult to read, and moves from one language to another within entries, employing English, French, and Italian. Eyre de Lanux used her diaries to record her impressions of the world rather than to enumerate daily activities.
Writings include drafts, copies, and notes for de Lanux's short stories from the 1920s until the 1980s. There are also annotated entries and drafts of her magazine column, "Letters to Elizabeth", poems, a note written to Paris, and notes concerning interior decoration. Writings by others include poems by Ann Lee, travel journals by Paolo Casagrande and Paul Eyre, and a draft of Pierre de Lanux's "Memoires-Jours de Notre Vivre."
Research files consist of Eyre de Lanux's notes, drafts, photographs, published works, and research correspondence relating to her biography on Tobias Lear, the personal secretary of George Washington and a proposal for a work entitled Illusions of Identity. Other materials include copies of Betsy Fahlman's research on architect Wilson Eyre, de Lanux's uncle.
Printed material is scattered and includes periodicals with copies of writings by Pierre and Eyre de Lanux, one exibition announcement, printed reproductions of works of art, blank postcards, and souvenirs gathered from de Lanux's many trips abroad.
Photographs are of Eyre in her studio and of her family and friends including Louis Aragon, Natalie Barney, Paolo Casagrande and family, Alice Delmar, Paul Eyre, Consuelo Ford, Pierre de Lanux, Anne Strong, and Evelyn Wyld. There is a photo of Natalie Barney's 20 Rue Jacob Temple d'Amitie. Other photos are of buildings, travel, interiors, and works of art. Among the photographs of works of art include two portraits, one of Eyre de Lanux by Romaine Brooks and one of Romaine Brooks by Eyre de Lanux.
Artwork include sketches, drawings, prints, and paintings by Eyre de Lanux probably dating from the 1920s to the 1940s. There is a painted sketch of interior decoration from circa 1949. Sketches are of Parisian street scenes, portraits of friends, a design for a perfume advertisement for the fashion house Lucien Lelong, illustrated notes for Consuelo Ford, and miscellaneous subjects.
The Eyre de Lanux papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by de Lanux's daughter Anne de Lanux Strong and grandson Paul Eyre in 1996.
Funding for processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information
The collection was partially processed by Valerie Komor in 1999. In 2012, the collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Jayna Hanson with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.