Marlene Barasch Strauss
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Marlene Barasch Strauss

Fee Range1: $ 9000 - $10000

Highly acclaimed art historian, regular lecturer at Metropolitan Museum of Art


Arts/Culture/MusicLifestyleSpouse Programs


New York


Marlene Barasch Strauss

Marlene Barasch StraussHighly acclaimed art historian, regular lecturer at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art historian, Marlene Barasch Strauss, lectures annually in the Grace Rainey Rogers Theatre of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at The Society of The Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida and the 21st Century Club in Cleveland.  She has spoken at the Smithsonian Institution and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, the French Embassy (of Cultural Affairs) in New York and at many museums, town halls, women’s clubs and organizations throughout the United States.

Over the last twenty years some of Marlene’s subjects have included:  Life Styles of the Rich and Famous in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome;   Kings, Queens, and Courtesans—Great Art Inspired by Great Passion; and most recently Portraits of Couples in the art world—“Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe”, “Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner” and “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera”.  Her talks intertwine the artists’ visual dialogue with their biographical material in dramatic power point presentations.

Marlene Strauss is a former board member of The National Academy of Design in New York and IFAR (International Foundation for Art Research) and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Archaeological Institute of America.  In 1978 as an officer of the AIA she was appointed Diplomatic Courier to Christos Doumas, Director of Excavations on the Greek Island of Santorini.  She is a member of the Works of Art Committee of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach.

Mrs. Strauss attended Vassar College, received her B.A. with Distinction from Barnard College and holds graduate degrees in French from Columbia University (where she was the President’s Scholar) and in Art History and Archaeology from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts where she completed her doctoral work.

She lives in New York and Palm Beach. 


Recent Lecture Topics 

The World of Andy Warhol: Liz, Marilyn and Jackie This talk explores the world of Andy Warhol, his beginnings, the impact he has made on twenty-first century art, and the amazing niche his work has carved out.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo: Portrait of a Couple Diego and Frida were two colorful artists whose life together was filled with drama and joy, angst and despair.  Diego’s vast panoramas were politically charged; Frida’s small, intimate paintings spoke feelingly of universal truths.

The Miracle of Montparnasse This talk explores the miracle that took place at the beginning of the twentieth century when artists from all over the world flocked to Paris and created a new art and a new way of seeing.

The Many Loves of Alma Mahler Alma Mahler was the toast of Vienna.  She knew and loved the most talented of men–Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, Oskar Kokoschka, and Franz Werfel to name just a few–and they loved her.

The Feminine Eye:  Great Women Collectors Coco Chanel and Helena RubinsteinDr. Claribel and Etta Cone Isabella Stewart Gardner Peggy Guggenheim, Marjorie Merriweather Post Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Throughout history there have always been women collectors, like those mentioned above.  Did these women have a special sense for art?  Is the feminine eye different?  Is it keener than the masculine?

Max Ernst: Portrait of an Artist Max Ernst lived through two great wars.  He met and loved several women along the way – all of them connected in some way to his world – the world of art.

Marc Chagall: The Poet-Painter Marc Chagall was the poet of 20th century art.  He believed that a painting, like a poem, ought to symbolize the experiences and emotions of life.  He dreamed of being a poet in his youth, and he wrote poetry all of his life. In his world, Chagall often used fantasy to refashion real life. When he was in his 80’s he said, “The end of life is a bouquet!”  He was always in love with life, and was still painting lovers in his late 90’s.

The Cone Sisters of Baltimore:  Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Marlene Strauss spoke at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on October 17, 2012. The Cone Sisters of Baltimore spent their lives in happy spinsterhood, traveling the world together.  Their friends included Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and so many others.  Together, the Cone Sisters built one of the world’s preeminent collections of Modern art.

Albert Barnes and The Barnes Collection Marlene Strauss spoke at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on October 16, 2013.Having developed eyedrops for newborns, Dr. Albert Barnes amassed a fortune, which he used to build the greatest private collection of Post-Impressionist and early Modern art in the world. Paintings by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse, and Picasso, among others—cherished names of 19- and 20-century French painting—were installed in the limestone mansion he established as a school, not a museum, for the purpose of study. How Barnes assembled that collection during the Great Depression and the subsequent relocation of the collection from Merion, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia are the subjects of this lecture.

The Clark Brothers Collect Brothers Sterling and Stephen Clark, heirs to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, grew up in Cooperstown, New York. They amassed two of the most important collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern painting. While both brothers shared a love of great art, their individual preferences and collecting habits varied a great deal. The siblings, close in their young years, quarreled over the disposition of their inheritance—and their relationship was severed forever. Each of the brothers, however, would go on to build a great, individual art collection.

Isabella Stewart Gardner   A vivacious woman endowed with an appetite for life and intellectual curiosity, Isabella Stewart Gardener, accompanied by her husband Jack, happily trotted across America, Asia and Europe. Her favorite destination was Venice, a major artistic center in the late 19th century for American and English expatriates.  She was a patron and friend of leading artists and writers of the day –   John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Henry James, George Santayana and Bernard Berenson, to name just a few.  For years her salon at Fenway Court was Boston’s liveliest.  She lived an engaging, exuberant life that both fascinated and scandalized proper Bostonians in the Victorian era.  The life and times of Isabella Stewart Gardener and how she personally built one of the world’s great art collections housed in the museum that bears her name is the subject of this lecture.

Love and Lies: Then and Now   Deception is the subject of this talk.  With the arrival of the Internet, new and ingenious methods of deception have proliferated. Embellishing one’s persona, photo-shopping, pretending to be someone other than one’s self are common occurrences. When it comes to meeting new love interests or making new connections, everyone wants to put his best foot forward.  The Internet allows one to put someone else’s best foot forward. But is this something new? Not at all!  Didn’t Zeus pretend to be a swan in order to seduce Leda?  Using examples from painting, sculpture, literature and film clips, Marlene will make the point that forms of deception have always existed.


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