Anarchists of Style: Anita Berber, Part I

Be Drunken, Always. That is the point; nothing else matters. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weigh you down and crush you to the earth, be drunken continually.

Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry or with virtue, as you please. But be drunken.

                                          –Charles Baudelaire


Paris has its Marianne, Berlin between the wars has its Anita Berber— the embodiment of decadence and ultimate dissolution. The “priestess of depravity.”

This is likely a familiar portrait to many; she made the cover of the Metropolitan Museum’s catalog for its 2007 show, Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. And I recall seeing her as the cover girl on at least one or two more books in my library. The devastation on her face, her snakelike physique; the image just speaks.

This is an abbreviated post. Monica and I will be collaborating on a full posting on Berber that will go up two weeks from now. But in the spirit of the new year (which I’ll spend with my family, toddler nieces and a good bottle of wine) I’m feeling the spirit of Berber as  an homage to decadence past.

Yet it’s hard to romanticize her with too much sincerity. Look at that face. Berber was just 25.

A happy and healthy new year to all.

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1 Comment

  • Lourdes December 27, 2010 09.25 pm

    Thank you for the preview, keep safe and have a happy drunken New Year 🙂


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