Tokens of Affection: Rouben & Azadia Mamoulian

I've been organizing my books and ran into something I bought years ago and promptly forgot: Dorothy Rodgers' book on the domestic arts, My Favorite Things. It's actually remarkably good, with sensible ideas and anecdotes from her life, all decently written. The dust jacket bio notes that she held several patents for inventions, though I couldn't find anything on these -- there's nothing online about this fascinating woman. I guess it's hard to get out from under the shadow of Richard Rodgers.

Dorothy Rodgers writes quite a bit about the showbiz and artistic (largely Jewish, seemingly) milieu she and her husband enjoyed, and used stories of friends' homes to illustrate points -- this, under Uniquely Personal Touches / The Fun of Your Own Creating: "One of the most memorable things about the Rouben Mamoulians' sensational contemporary home in Hollywood is the trompe l'oeil Pompeian wall Azedia has painted for the living room; Rouben's delightful contribution is a group of fascinating portraits of Azadia made from shells, from pressed flowers, from semi precious stones; there is even a decoupage one that incorporates luggage stickers and postcards from a South American trip they once took."

Who are these delightful Mamoulians, and where are these tokens of affection?

Mr. Mamoulian, maker of miniature portrait collages, also made

Not bad. Here he is with Garbo:

And Flyn:

I could only find one picture of Azadia, painting a portrait of Carole Lombard; statuesque though Lombard may be, my eye immediately flies to Azadia:

Sadly, these "portraits of Azadia made from shells, from pressed flowers, from semi precious stones" have faded into the ether, or been shredded by cats:

Apparently they had a pet problem. How ridiculous is it that these were the only pictures I could find showing the interior?


ArchitectDesign™ said...

haha -that is ridiculous, the things you find on the internet! I bought the book ages ago upon someone's recommendation but have yet to crack into it. My chore for next week!

Reggie Darling said...

Much fun. I vividly remember the first time (of many) I read her book "The House In My Head," which I borrowed from the public library near where I lived when I was--maybe--twelve or thirteen, and devoured every page of it. I loved it. I recently looked at my (now owned) copy the other day and I was amazed at how ugly the house was! Reggie

Nick Heywood said...

It is sad that interiors so easily fade from history. I'm glad it has become faddish to have one's interiors professionally photographed -- though I'm sure most of it is rot, some of these rooms should not disappear and ought to be remembered.

Reggie, I need to track down "The House in My Head!" I'm not familiar with it, and picking up the Rogers book that I have was a complete fluke. The RISD Library sales never fail to yield gems.

Such is the wonder of the internet that "The House in My Head" is on it's way to me from California for less than the cost of a movie ticket. And I don't mind too much that the house is ugly (which it looks to be, based on the cover) -- sometimes, that's half the fun.

Crystal said...

I love Dorothy Rodgers books! I have been trying to figure out, to no avail, if the house from "The House In My Head" is still standing. Does anyone out there know anything about it?

Anonymous said...

4800 Congress St., Fairfield, CT

Anonymous said...

I love how she carry's herself as a actress. She just has this confident that radiant from her.

-Zane of ontario honey

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