Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe in Powys

Alexis de la Falaise had an enviable life. His mother, Maxime, was a famous English model and celebrated cook; his father was a well-heeled European aristo. The family had impeccable connections in the arts and fashion worlds. Andy Warhol was a friend of the family. Alexis himself appeared in Tub Girls, one of Warhol's more inspired films. It featured Viva in a bathtub with various individuals - one of whom was Alexis. But Alexis got fed up with the beau monde and decided instead to go and live on a sheep farm in a remote part of Powys.

One day in 1971 Alexis's step-father John McKendry showed up at the farm with a friend from New York. At the time McKendry was curator of prints and photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The young man he had in tow was none other than photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe was in London for a short stay but had decided to extend his visit by a couple of weeks. His jaunt to Wales isn't especially well documented but at the farm he apparently took a snap of McKendry in the bathtub. Beyond that, little is known. The photographer’s trip to Wales is briefly mentioned in Patricia Morrisroe’s biog: Mapplethorpe.

As for Alexis de la Falaise he brought up two children in Wales. His daughter Lucie is now a model. His son Daniel is a successful chef and model. He was photographed with Madonna in her infamous 1992 book, Sex.