David Rockefeller, that’s the one and only David Rockefeller, and 850 of his many friends and admirers celebrated his 90th birthday — the man looks about 65 — at a grand and glorious party at the new Museum of Modern Art’s Party in the Garden. It was announced at the celebration that David, one of the world’s greatest philanthropists, had just presented MoMA with a gift like none other — $100 million. Certainly that’s enough green to help MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden grow (David’s mother created that garden and it has been very special to the family ever since). Another $3 million was raised at the party itself and, listen to this, still another $60 million was added to MoMA’s coffers by — one hears at David’s suggestion — MoMA’s trustees. Along with the 850 at the seated dinner (Maine lobster purveyed by Glorious Food) were 1,000 of the young who perked up the garden, the theory being that, if pretty young things male and female can’t perk things up, who can?
The great beauty of the evening was David’s stunning granddaughter, Miranda Kaiser Duncan, who stayed by grandfather’s side throughout the evening. She looked like a Boldini portrait in her striking blue strapless dress with a tiered ruffle skirt by Oscar de le Renta.
Actually, there were Rockefellers everywhere you looked — David Rockefeller Jr., John D. and Sharon Rockefeller, Steven and Barbara Rockefeller, Mark and Renee Rockefeller, Mrs. Nelson (Happy) Rockefeller looking happy in a gunmetal beaded dress, Michael Rockefeller, Charles Rockefeller, Richard Rockefeller, Justin Rockefeller and Tara Rockefeller. Among the swells paying homage to David were such as architect Richard Meier; Diana (Mrs. John) Negroponte; Laura and Richard Parsons; Beverly Sills; Mercedes and Sid Bass; Nancy and Henry Kissinger; Jo Carol and Ronald Lauder; Susan and Glen Lowry; Veronica Hearst; Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro; Princess Firyal of Jordan and Lionel Pincus; Lauren duPont; Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer; Barbara Walters; Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis (she is the museum’s new vice chairman); Fabiola Beracasa; Chuck Close; Annette and Oscar de la Renta; Mort Zuckerman; Carroll Petrie; Charlie Rose; Donald Marron; Jane Lauder; Lauren and John Veronis; Shirley Lord Rosenthal; Libby Pataki; Liz Rohatyn, in vibrant green and lavender pleated silk, and Felix Rohatyn, and, last but not least, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his lady, Diana Taylor. Beat that, if you can.
This story first appeared in the June 10, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
You can say one thing about Jane Stanton Hitchcock: She knows how to write. Actually, you can say dozens of things — all good — about this witty author, who can handle suspense with the same panache she can handle the foibles of what’s left of what was once called New York high society. This is really what her latest novel, “One Dangerous Lady,” is all about. Other writers have tried to tackle this subject. Forget that. At best, most of them have scant knowledge of this particular topic. As for Jane, she knows this rarefied social mafia — at least they think they’re rarefied — inside and out. And no beadier eye has been trained on their scheming machinations and posturing.
“One Dangerous Lady” is no pot boiler. It’s a hilarious, insightful look at a lot of underhanded social desperados who will stop at nothing — murder? — to further their nefarious plots. Sound as sweet as pie, don’t they all? Oh, maybe there are one or two decent types among them, but if you’re looking to find them in “One Dangerous Lady,” you had better bring a loup.
Jane’s dear and true friends, Linda Fairstein, Marie Brenner and Cathy Graham, are giving a lunch at Swifty’s next week (Jane calls the restaurant Pug’s in the book — get it?), and among those who will be there toasting this terribly talented lady are Liz Rohatyn, Catie Marron, Amanda Burden, Susan Cheever, Louise Grunwald, Erica Jong and others who know a great book when they read one.
The Museo Correr in Venice threw open its doors this week for an exhibition of 80 works of the English master Lucien Freud. Freud, whether you hate him or love him, is considered possibly the most important and controversial figurative painter of our time, and the exhibition contained monumental pieces spanning his 40-year career, including the recently completed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the first time this picture has left England.
To celebrate the opening, Bill Acquavella and his wife, Donna, flew in from New York to host the opening night’s grand dinner at the museo. Billionaire Paul Allen of the Microsoft Allens skipped over the waves to be there from his boat, Octopus, docked in the harbor. The Octopus may not be quite as big as the Queen Mary but who has the time to measure? Damon and Liz Mezzacappa, New Yorkers, were happy lenders to the exhibition. Other artistic types enjoying Mr. Freud’s ouevre were Marina Palma, who flew in from London; Parker and Gail Gilbert from New York; the soon-to-be-newlywed Samantha Boardman and Aby Rosen; Carol McFadden; the Acquavellas’ son, Nick, and Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani. Diana Widmaier-Picasso came from Paris on her way to New York, where she will launch her book telling all of us how it feels to grow up a Picasso.
Marina Cicogna, Alessandra Borghese and famous Paris jeweler Joel Rosenthal (JAR, to those who know him best) also helped celebrate the world-famous contemporary painter under a Venetian starlit sky. It doesn’t get much better than that.