it was within the fragile limbs and reed-like torso, all exquisitely
sculpted of wax, that the true magic lie—the ashes of a
ballerina, who danced a century before; hollow bones from a sparrow’s
wing; and seawater to fill the tiny stained-glass orbs that were
her eyes. And set deeper still, set at the core, was a silver
from The Princess of Wax
In April 2003, Neil Zukerman and CFM Gallery, New York City, published The Princess of Wax—A Cruel Tale/La Princesse de cire—Un Conte cruel written by Scot
D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino with illustrations
by acclaimed artist Anne Bachelier. This strange fairy tale and Bachelier’s
ravishing visual interpretation of it are inspired by the extraordinary,
real-life subject of the authors’ worldwide critically-acclaimed
Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati. Still available exclusively from CFM Gallery,
The Princess of Wax was released as a deluxe limited edition book with text in
both English and French. In April-May 2003, CFM Gallery mounted a splendid five-week exhibition of Bachelier’s artwork, featuring a remarkable series of oil paintings inspired by The Princess of Wax. Originally heralded in the February 2003 issue of Vanity Fair, the book received immediate laudatory notices upon its publication. So in addition to featured coverage in Gallery & Studio, Art World News, IN New York and Night Magazine, Gallery Guide dubbed The Princess of Wax 'an innovative, dark fairy tale,' while WHERE New York called it 'a sumptuous limited-edition volume,' and Grazia D'Annunzio of Vogue Italia praised the work as 'an intriguing, never-ending journey through eccentricity, obsession, love, cruelty, glamour and destiny.'
was our only choice to visually conceive this tale of
love, magic and the fantastic. Indeed, we wrote it for her.
The magnificent work she has created for the project
than exceeded our expectations—Bachelier has astonished us.
D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino
noblewoman presides over a decadent court of masked revelers. The
most beautiful of waxen automatons is brought to life by a sorceress,
her very heart hiding a deadly secret. And then love triumphs, if
but for a single moment, before a sudden and terrifying finale. This is the
bizarre world of The Princess of Wax.
Authors Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino constructed the
work in the style of the classic French conte cruel—a
literary form typified by the use of a timeless, fairy-tale setting;
a baroque storyline combining the beautiful and the grotesque; and an
unexpectedly horrific conclusion. Woven into the sinister work, Ryersson
and Yaccarino have fancifully incorporated some of the more outlandish
elements associated with the life and eccentric persona of the Marchesa
Luisa Casati (1881-1957). As one of the most influential
represented figures of the early 20th century international
arts scene, Casati was the basis for numerous fictional characters during
and after her lifetime. With her passion for the weird and wonderful,
the Marchesa would have surely been intrigued by The Princess of Wax and her vital role as muse in its invention.
envision the universe of La Princesse de cire
an endless danse macabre broken by moments of tenderness.
than twenty-five years, contemporary French Surrealist artist Anne
Bachelier has captured dreams on canvas. She has been dubbed
‘art’s enchanting Scheherazade’ (Gallery &
Studio), a reputation established through international exhibitions
of an ever-growing gallery of sorceresses, chimeras and other mythical
Born on February 20, 1949 in Louvigne du Desert, France, Bachelier studied
art formally from 1966 to 1969 at the École des Beaux-Arts, La
Seyne-sur-Mer, before serving an apprenticeship at an engraving shop
in Valence from 1974 to 1975. Since 1989, she has been exhibited frequently
throughout France and on both coasts of the United States. Painter,
printmaker, ballet designer and illustrator, Bachelier is also a wife,
mother of three and has three grandchildren. She lives and works near
Although Bachelier’s work has been admirably compared to that
of Goya, Moreau, Magritte, and Fini, she has undeniably produced an
artistic cosmos both enchanted and completely her own. With the stroke
of a paintbrush, Bachelier invites the viewer to join what she calls
her ‘thought-beings’ in perpetual rituals of revelation
and transformation. In the insightful essay ‘Bound to Earth, Yearning
for Immortality’ (Sunstorm/Fine Art, fall 1993), Barbara
King successfully endeavors to define Bachelier’s incomparable
personages present archetypes engaging in matters of great import
and on a grand scale. The spectator witnesses the unfolding of
a drama that evokes a dream-like mystery; an intangible, ethereal
otherworldliness that is simultaneously powerful, peaceful, and
protective. The visions of Anne Bachelier capture the macabre
with grandeur, power, and riveting beauty.
Artist and author-signed copies of the book, as well a selection of the original Bachelier mixed-media illustrations for and oil paintings inspired by The Princess of Wax, are still available.
CLICK HERE to order book.
The Princess of Wax—A Cruel Tale (or La Princesse de cire—Un Conte cruel) contains a text in both
English and French. Renowned translator Guy Leclercq has prepared the
latter. A professor of the Sorbonne, Leclercq teaches at the École
Supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs (L’ESIT),
Paris. Notable career highlights include: the first French translation
of John Dryden’s King Arthur, Edward Lear’s Nonsense
Poetry for the collection Femmes a-sensées (Éditions
Autrement) and more than thirty poetry translations and studies ranging
from Shakespeare to Poe and E. E. Cummings. His celebrated version of
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
(Au Bord des Continents) will be followed by its sequel Through
the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Au Bord des Continents). Equally adept at French-to-English translation, Leclercq has
concentrated on the texts of such Decadent and Modern writers as Baudelaire,
Verlaine, Desnos, Prévert, Queneau, Vian and Tardieu. It is noteworthy
that Leclercq is the translator of the French-language version of Ryersson
and Yaccarino’s Infinite Variety released by Éditions
Assouline in January 2003.