Edwardian Ball 2024
14.5 x 35
Edition of 250
3 colors on cream paper
Signed and Numbered
I will make a limited online launch of my Edwardian Ball 2024 poster through EQL opening on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 9 am PST. The launch closes (same day) on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 9 pm PST.
Visit the launch page for the release (countdown and launch):
It’s Edwardian Ball time again, and as always, it’s a great pleasure to work with Justin Katz, the Edwardian Ball impresario, and once again I had a lot of fun making this poster!
My Edwardian Ball posters always have an edge of social critique in them. They are done with a wink and a nod, in keeping with the enjoyment of attending such an elaborate period pageant.
Most of the attendees also realize that the Edwardian era was one of unabashed and ostentatious oligarchy, unrivaled economic imperialism and a presumed European superiority complex. It’s all of these things that makes the period so bizarre to us today. I’ve always endeavored to reveal this outrageous and bizarre sense of imperial entitlement in my Edwardian Ball posters, and keep them wild and fun.
I try to channel the spirit of our age in a non-linear way with each year’s Edwardian Ball poster, making allegory, or touching a simple parallel between our 21st Century experience and the far-away world of Edwardian “Society.”
My 2024 poster for the Edwardian Ball is a portrait of architect Stanford White with art model turned superstar of stage and silent screen Evelyn Nesbit.
Stanford White was famous as one of the foremost architects of the Beaux-Arts style, his prolific architectural designs became known as “American Renaissance”. Simply put he created lavish Guilded Age mansions for the masters of the known universe, the Astors and the Vanderbilts among the pantheon.
White was one of a group of wealthy debauchées, all members of the Union Club, who organized frequent orgies in secret locations scattered about Manhattan. Mark Twain summed up Stanford White thus: “eagerly and diligently and ravenously and remorselessly hunting young girls to their destruction. These facts have been well known in New York for many years.”
Evelyn Nesbit was well-known too as New York model and chorus girl. She was frequently photographed for mass circulation newspapers, magazine advertisements, souvenir items and calendars (all media new to the Century). She started as an artist’s model in Philadelphia. Nesbit continued modeling after her family moved to New York, posing for artists including most notably Charles Dana Gibson who idealized her as a “Gibson Girl”, his extremely popular pin-ups of the era.
White set his sites on Nesbit. The affair showed his predatory modus operandi some details include: extremely uneven power relationship, luxurious settings, promises of wealth, fame, a red velvet swing suspended from the ceiling, surreptitious doses of morphine, and rape of the 16 year old ingenue.
Soon after her days with White ended, Nesbit became involved with the reckless, self-indulgent Harry Kendall Thaw, heir to a titanic Pittsburgh railroad empire. Thaw was rather unhinged, addicted to morphine, violent, sadistic, and fabulously wealthy. By way of courting Evelyn, Thaw took her on a sojourn in Europe, and begged her to marry him.
Knowing of his insistance on the principle of chastity, Evelyn divulged the White affair and the loss of her virginity, and gave Thaw the details in a series of abusive interrogations across the Continent.
The interrogations were punctuated by an obsessive itinerary of grim, gothic sites focusing on the cult of virgin martyrdom insisted upon by Thaw — his mad courtship — and finally, worn-down, Nesbit relented. They married and Evelyn became the “Mistress of Millions” according to the papers.
Thereafter, Thaw was obsessed with avenging Evelyn’s honor. In June 1906, the couple visited New York City to board a luxury steamliner for a second tour of Europe. Thaw brought Evelyn to the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden to attend the premier of Mam’zelle Champagne, a rave choral revue. There, in front of New York Society Thaw confronted White, and shot him dead during the finale “I Could Love A Million Girls”.
“In New York City the papers were full of the shooting of the famous architect Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw, eccentric scion of a coke and railroad fortune. Harry K. Thaw was the husband of Evelyn Nesbit, the celebrated beauty who had once been Stanford White’s mistress. The shooting took place in the roof garden of the Madison Square Garden on 26th Street, a spectacular block-long building of yellow brick and terra cotta that White himself had designed in the Sevillian style. It was the opening night of a revue entitled Mamzelle Champagne, and as the chorus sang and danced the eccentric scion wearing on this summer night a straw boater and heavy black coat pulled out a pistol and shot the famous architect three times in the head. On the roof. There were screams. Evelyn fainted. She had been a well-known artist’s model at the age of fifteen. Her underclothes were white. Her husband habitually whipped her. She happened once to meet Emma Goldman, the revolutionary. Goldman lashed her with her tongue … And though the newspapers called the shooting the Crime of the Century, Goldman knew it was only 1906 and there were ninety-four years to go.”
— E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime (1975)
In Thaw family lore according to Evelyn’s grandson: After Harry Thaw’s murder trial, Evelyn received a final $25,000 settlement from the Thaw family. To spite the wealthy capitalist Thaw clan, Evelyn donated the whole sum to anarchist revolutionary Emma Goldman. Goldman in turn gave the money to writer, activist, and socialist John Reed, author of “Ten Days That Shook The World” — his first-person account of the Russian Revolution that toppled the Russian Imperial Family and set the Communist Revolution in motion.