Marpessa Hennink(12 July 1964) is a Dutch fashion model. She is best known for her work as a runway model, which earned her the moniker “The Catwalk Contessa”.
Marpessa Hennink was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to a Dutch mother and a Dutch / Surinamese father of African ancestry.
From as young as the age of four, Hennink expressed an interest in fashion and began working as a model after she turned sixteen, having been discovered by a magazine editor in her native Amsterdam. This happened despite being rejected, deemed “too exotic” by the Eileen Ford agency during a casting call.
Amongst the many magazines that Hennink has been featured in are various international editions of Vogue, as well as other publications such as Elle, Glamor, Time, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, L'Officiel, Harpers & Queen and Photo.
She credited the late fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez with recommending her to some of the prominent designers, such as Azzedine Alaia, and Karl Lagerfeld of the fashion house Chanel. Most notably, Hennink walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana's first fashion show in 1985, at the beginning of their career as designers. The same year, she appeared in the music video for Bryan Ferry's song, "Slave to Love", directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
Hennink went on to walk the runway for many other designers including Versace, Christian Lacroix, Valentino, Christian Dior, Gianfranco Ferré, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake, Moschino, Claude Montana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Comme des Garçons, Lanvin, Thierry Mugler, Donna Karan, Trussardi, Mila Schön, Rifat Özbek, and Bruce Oldfield.
In 1987, Hennink was chosen by Dolce & Gabbana to star in the advertising campaign for their Fall / Winter collection. It was the first campaign for the label, and Hennink agreed to do it for free. The campaign was photographed in Sicily by Ferdinando Scianna of Magnum Photos. The photographs from the campaign made such an impression that Hennink came to be seen as an icon of Mediterranean femininity.
In October of that year, Hennink was named "Model of the Year" during the “Oscars de la Mode” in Paris. After which she was given the nickname "the Catwalk Contessa".
In 1993, after the publication of the book Marpessa, uno sguardo, by Ferdinando Scianna, Hennink retired from modeling, having also been put off by the arrival of the grunge fashion trend.
Upon her retirement, she moved to Ibiza, Spain, where she began a career as an interior decorator. She made a return to the fashion runways in 2004, where she closed the Fall / Winter show for designer Antonio Marras.
In 2005, Hennink gave birth to a daughter.
In January 2011, Hennink was chosen to walk in a special fashion show held by designer Alberta Ferretti in Florence, Italy. Then, in May 2011, she walked in the "Fashion for Relief" benefit show in Cannes, France. The following year, Dolce & Gabbana launched a line of made-to-measure clothing called "Alta Moda", and chose Hennink as the global ambassador for that line.
Marpessa Hennink speaks six languages. In her spare time, she enjoys interior decorating and photography. She considers Inès de La Fressange, Diana Vreeland, and Madeleine Castaing as her style icons.
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (July 3, 1908 – June 22, 1992) was an American food writer. She was a founder of the Napa Valley Wine Library. Over her lifetime she wrote 27 books, including a translation of The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin. Fisher believed that eating well was just one of the "arts of life" and explored this in her writing. W. H. Auden once remarked, "I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose."
Fisher was born Mary Frances Kennedy on July 3, 1908, at 202 Irwin Avenue, Albion, Michigan.
Rex was a co-owner (with his brother Walter) and editor of the Albion Evening Recorder newspaper.
In 1919, her father Rex purchased a large white house outside the city limits on South Painter Avenue. The house sat on thirteen acres, with an orange grove; it was referred to by the family as "The Ranch." Although Whittier was primarily a Quaker community at that time, Mary Frances was brought up within the Episcopal Church.
Mary enjoyed reading as a child, and began writing poetry at the age of five. The Kennedys had a vast home library, and her mother provided her access to many other books. Later, her father used her as stringer on his paper, and she would draft as many as fifteen stories a day.
Mary received a formal education; however, she was an indifferent student who often skipped classes throughout her academic career. She attended Illinois College, but left after only one semester. In 1928, she enrolled in summer school at UCLA in order to obtain enough credits to transfer to Occidental College. While there, she met her future first husband: Alfred Fisher ("Al"). She attended Occidental College for one year then married Al on September 5, 1929, and moved with him to Dijon, France.
Food became an early passion in her life. An early food influence was "Aunt" Gwen. Aunt Gwen was not family, but the daughter of friends — the Nettleship family. Mary recalled cooking outdoors with Gwen: steaming mussels on fresh seaweed over hot coals; catching and frying rock bass; skinning and cooking eel; and, making fried egg sandwiches to carry on hikes. Mary wrote of her meals with Gwen and Gwen's brothers: "I decided at the age of nine that one of the best ways to grow up is to eat and talk quietly with good people."
Mary liked to cook meals in the kitchen at home, and "easily fell into the role of the cook's helper."
In September 1929, newlyweds Mary and Al sailed on the RMS Berengaria to Cherbourg (now Cherbourg-Octeville), France. They traveled to Paris for a brief stay, before continuing south to Dijon.
Al attended the Faculté des Lettres at the University of Dijon where he was working on his doctorate; when not in class, he worked on his epic poem, The Ghosts in the Underblows. The poem was based on the Bible and was analogous to James Joyce's Ulysses.
Mary attended night classes at the École des Beaux-Arts where she spent three years studying painting and sculpture.
They lodged at 14 Rue du Petit-Potet in a home owned by the Ollangnier family. The Ollangniers served good food at home, although Madame Ollangnier was "extremely penurious and stingy." Mary remembered big salads made at the table, deep-fried Jerusalem artichokes, and "reject cheese" that was always good.
To celebrate their three-month anniversary, Al and Mary went to the Aux Trois Faisans restaurant — their first of many visits. There, Mary received her education in fine wine from a sommelier named Charles. The Fishers visited all the restaurants in town, where in Mary's words:
We ate terrines of pate ten years old under their tight crusts of mildewed fat. We tied napkins under our chins and splashed in great odorous bowls of ecrevisses a la nage. We addled our palates with snipes hung so long they fell from their hooks, to be roasted then on cushions of toast softened with the paste of their rotted innards and fine brandy.
By 1931, Fisher had finished the first twelve books of the poem, which he ultimately expected to contain sixty books. That year, Mary and Al moved to their own apartment, above a pastry shop at 26 Rue Monge. It was Mary's first kitchen. It was only five feet by three feet and contained a two-burner hotplate. Despite the kitchen's limitations, or perhaps because of it, Mary began developing her own personal cuisine, with the goal of "cooking meals that would 'shake [her guests] from their routines, not only of meat-potatoes-gravy, but of thought, of behavior.'" In The Gastronomical Me she describes one such meal:
There in Dijon, the cauliflowers were very small and succulent, grown in that ancient soil. I separated the flowerlets and dropped them in boiling water for just a few minutes. Then I drained them and put them in a wide shallow casserole, and covered them with heavy cream, and a thick sprinkling of freshly grated Gruyere, the nice rubbery kind that didn't come from Switzerland at all, but from the Jura. It was called râpé in the market, and was grated while you watched, in a soft cloudy pile, onto your piece of paper.
After Al was awarded his doctorate, they moved briefly to Strasbourg, France, then a tiny French fishing village, Le Cros-de-Cagnes. Al had stopped work on his poem, was trying to write novels and did not want to return to the States. After running out of funds, the Fishers returned to California, sailing on the Feltre out of Marseilles.
Back in California, Al and Mary initially moved in with Mary's family at "The Ranch" and later moved into the Laguna cabin. Al spent two years looking for a teaching position until he found one at Occidental College. Mary began writing and she published her first piece — "Pacific Village" — in the February 1935 issue of Westways magazine. The article was a fictional account of life in Laguna Beach
Mary worked part-time in a card shop and researched old cookery books at the Los Angeles Public Library. She began writing short pieces on gastronomy. The pieces were later to become her first book: Serve It Forth. Mary next began work on a novel she never finished; it was based on the founding of Whittier.
During this period, Mary's marriage with Al was beginning to fail.
In 1933, Dillwyn Parrish and his wife Gigi moved next door to them, and they rapidly became friends. After Parrish divorced Gigi in 1934, Mary found herself falling in love with him. In Mary's words, she one day sat next to Parrish at the piano and told him she loved him.
In 1935, with Al's permission, Mary traveled to Europe with Parrish and his mother. The Parrishes had money, and they sailed on the luxury liner Hansa. Mary revisited Dijon and ate with Parrish at Aux Trois Faisans where she was recognized and served by her old friend, the waiter Charles. She later wrote a piece on their visit — "The Standing and the Waiting" — which was to become the centerpiece of Serve It Forth. Upon her return from Europe, Mary informed Al of her developing relationship with Parrish. In 1936, Dillwyn invited the Fishers to join him in creating an artists' colony at Le Paquis — a two-story stone house that Parrish had bought with his sister north of Vevey, Switzerland. Notwithstanding the clear threat to his marriage, Al agreed.
"Le Paquis" means the grazing ground. The house sat on a sloping meadow on the north shore of Lake Geneva, looking across to the snowcapped Alps. They had a large garden in which
"We grew beautiful salads, a dozen different kinds, and several herbs. There were shallots and onion and garlic, and I braided them into long silky ropes and hung them over rafters in the attic."
In mid-1937 Al and Mary separated. He returned to the States where he began a distinguished career as a teacher and poet at Smith College. In 1938, Mary returned home briefly to inform her parents in person of her separation and pending divorce from Al.
Meanwhile, her first book, Serve It Forth, had opened to largely glowing reviews, including reviews in Harper's Monthly, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Mary, however, was disappointed in the book's meager sales because she needed the money. During this same period, Mary and Parrish also co-wrote (alternating chapters) a light romance entitled Touch and Go under the pseudonym Victoria Berne. The book was published by Harper and Brothers in 1939.
In September 1938, Mary and Parrish could no longer afford to live at Les Paquis and they moved to Bern, where Parrish underwent two surgeries but could not get a good diagnosis from his doctors. With the onset of World War II, and Parrish's need for medical care, Mary and Parrish returned to the States, where he ultimately was diagnosed as having Buerger's disease (Thromboangiitis obliterans) — a circulatory system malady that causes extreme thrombosis of the arteries and veins, causing severe pain, and often necessitating multiple amputations. The disease is progressive and there was (and is) no known successful treatment. They returned briefly to Switzerland to close down their apartment, and returned to California.
Once in California, Mary searched for a warm dry climate that would be beneficial for Parrish's health. She found a small cabin on ninety acres of land south of Hemet, California. They bought the property and named it "Bareacres" after the character Lord Bareacres in Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Lord Bareacres was land-poor; his only asset was his estate.
Although Parrish's life at Bareacres had its ups and downs, its course was a downward spiral. Ultimately, Parrish could no longer tolerate the pain and the probable need for additional amputations. On the morning of August 6, 1941, Mary was awakened by a gunshot. Venturing outside, she discovered that Parrish had committed suicide. Mary later would write, "I have never understood some (a lot of) taboos and it seems silly to me to make suicide one of them in our social life."
During the period leading up to Tim's death (Parrish was often called "Tim" by family and friends, but referred to as "Chexbres" in Fisher's autobiographical books), Mary completed three books. The first was a novel entitled The Theoretical Foot. It was a fictional account of expatriates enjoying a summer romp when the protagonist, suffering great pain, ends up losing a leg. The second book was an unsuccessful attempt by her to revise a novel written by Tim, Daniel Among the Women. Third, she completed and published Consider the Oyster, which she dedicated to Tim. The book was humorous and informative. It contained numerous recipes incorporating oysters, mixed with musings on the history of the oyster, oyster cuisine, and the love life of the oyster.
In 1942, Mary published How to Cook a Wolf. The book was published at the height of WWII food shortages.
In May 1942 Mary began working in Hollywood for Paramount Studios. While there she wrote gags for Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour. Mary became pregnant in 1943, and secluded herself in a boarding house in Altadena. While there she worked on the book that would become The Gastronomical Me.
On August 15, 1943, she gave birth to Anne Kennedy Parrish (later known as Anna). Mary listed a fictional father on the birth certificate, Michael Parrish. She never revealed the father's identity.
In 1944, Mary broke her contract with Paramount. On a trip to New York, she met and fell in love with publisher Donald Friede. She spent the summer in Greenwich Village with Friede, working on the book that would become Let Us Feast. Her relationship with Friede gave her entree to additional publishing markets, and she wrote articles for Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Town and Country, Today's Woman and Gourmet. In fall 1945, Friede's publishing entity failed, and Mary and Donald returned to Bareacres, both to write.
On March 12, 1946, Mary gave birth to her second daughter, Kennedy Mary Friede. Mary began work on With Bold Knife and Fork.
Mary's mother died in 1948. In 1949, she moved to the Ranch to take care of her father, Rex.
On Christmas Eve 1949, the limited edition release of her translation of Savarin's The Physiology of Taste received rave reviews. During this period, Mary also was working on a biography of Madame Récamier for which she had received an advance. Her marriage with Donald was starting to unravel. He became ill with intestinal pains and after considerable medical treatment, it became apparent that the pain was psychosomatic, and Don began receiving psychiatric care. Mary in turn had been under considerable stress. She had been caretaker for Tim, had weathered his suicide, suffered her brother's suicide a year later, followed by the death of her mother, only to be thrust into the role of caretaker for Rex. Despite her financially successful writing career, Don lived a lifestyle that exceeded their income, leaving her $27,000 in debt. She sought psychiatric counseling for what essentially was a nervous breakdown. By 1949, Donald had become frustrated by his isolation in a small Southern California town and separated from Mary. They divorced on August 8, 1950.
Her father died June 2, 1953. Mary subsequently sold the Ranch and the newspaper. She rented out Bareacres and moved to Napa Valley, renting "Red Cottage" south of St. Helena, California. Dissatisfied with the educational opportunities available to her children, Mary sailed to France in 1954. She ended up in Aix-en-Provence, France. She planned to live in Aix using the proceeds from the sale of her father's paper.
Once in Aix, Mary employed a French tutor and enrolled Anna and Kennedy, then aged 11 and 8, in the École St Catherine. In Aix, her life developed a pattern. Each day she would walk across town to pick up the girls from school at noon, and in late afternoon they ate snacks or ices at the Deux Garçons or Glacière, but she never felt completely at home.
Mary left Provence in July 1955, and sailed for San Francisco on the freighter Vesuvio. After living in the city for a short period, she decided that the intense urban environment did not provide the children enough freedom. She sold Bareacres and used the proceeds to buy an old Victorian house on Oak Street in St. Helena. She owned the house until 1970, using it as a base for frequent travels. During extended absences she would rent it out.
In fall 1959 she moved the family to Lugano, Switzerland, where she hoped to introduce her daughters to a new language and culture. She revisited Dijon and Aix. Falling back in love with Aix, she rented the L'Harmas farmhouse outside Aix.
In July 1961, she returned to San Francisco. She contracted to write a series of cookbook reviews for The New Yorker magazine.
In 1966, Time-Life hired Mary to write The Cooking of Provincial France. She traveled to Paris to research material for the book. While there, she met Paul and Julia Child, and through them James Beard. Child was hired to be a consultant on the book; Michael Field was the consulting editor. Fisher was disappointed in the book's final form; it contained restaurant recipes, without regard to regional cuisine, and much of her signature prose had been cut.
In 1971, Mary's friend David Bouverie, who owned a ranch in Glen Ellen, California, offered to build Mary a house on his ranch. Mary designed it, calling it "Last House". And she spent the last twenty years of her life in "Last House".
After Dillwyn Parrish's death, Fisher considered herself a "ghost" of a person, but she continued to have a long and productive life, while suffering from Parkinson's disease and arthritis.
M.F.K. Fisher died at the age of 83 in Glen Ellen, California, in 1992.
Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide.
Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was the first dancer to perform at the White House, travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and receive the highest civilian award of the US: the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. In her lifetime she received honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan's Imperial Order of the Precious Crown. She said, in the 1994 documentary The Dancer Revealed: "I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable." Founded in 1926 (the same year as Graham's professional dance company), the Martha Graham School is the oldest school of dance in the United States. First located in a small studio within Carnegie Hall the school currently has two different studios in New York City.
Graham was born in Allegheny City – later to become part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – in 1894. Her father, George Graham, practiced as what in the Victorian era was known as an "alienist", a practitioner of an early form of psychiatry. The Grahams were strict Presbyterians. Dr. Graham was a third-generation American of Irish descent. Her mother, Jane Beers, was a second-generation American. While her parents provided a comfortable environment in her youth, it was not one that encouraged dancing.
The Graham family moved to Santa Barbara, California when Martha was fourteen years old. In 1911, she attended the first dance performance of her life, watching Ruth St. Denis perform at the Mason Opera House in Los Angeles. In the mid-1910s, Martha Graham began her studies at the newly created Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts, founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, at which she would stay until 1923.
When she left the Denishawn establishment in 1923, Graham did so with an urge to make dance an art form that was more grounded in the rawness of the human experience as opposed to just a mere form of entertainment. This motivated Graham to strip away the more decorative movements of ballet and of her training at the Denishawn school and focus more on the foundational aspects of movement.
In 1926, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance was established, in a small studio on the Upper East Side of New York City.
On April 18 of the same year Graham debuted her first independent concert, consisting of 18 short solos and trios that she had choreographed. This performance took place at the 48th Street Theatre in Manhattan. She would later say of the concert: "Everything I did was influenced by Denishawn."
Later that year she entered an extended collaboration with Japanese-American pictorialist photographer Soichi Sunami, and over the next five years they together created some of the most iconic images of early modern dance.
Graham's technique pioneered a principle known as "contraction and release" in modern dance, which was derived from a stylized conception of breathing.
Each movement could separately be used to express either positive or negative, freeing or constricting emotions depending on the placement of the head. The contraction and release were both the basis for Graham's weighted and grounded style, which is in direct opposition to classical ballet techniques that typically aim to create an illusion of weightlessness. To counter the more percussive and staccato movements, Graham eventually added the spiral shape to the vocabulary of her technique to incorporate a sense of fluidity.
Following her first concert made up of solos, Graham created Heretic (1929), the first group piece of many that showcased a clear diversion from her days with Denishawn, and served as an insight to her work that would follow in the future. Made up of constricted and sharp movement with the dancers clothed unglamorously, the piece centered around the theme of rejection—one that would reoccur in other Graham works down the line.
As time went on Graham moved away from the more stark design aesthetic she initially embraced and began incorporating more elaborate sets and scenery to her work. To do this, she collaborated often with Isamu Noguchi—a Japanese American designer—whose eye for set design was a complementary match to Graham's choreography.
Within the many themes which Graham incorporated into her work, there were two that she seemed to adhere to the most—Americana and Greek mythology. One of Graham's most known pieces that incorporates the American life theme is Appalachian Spring (1944). She collaborated with the composer Aaron Copland—who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the piece—and Noguchi, who created the nonliteral set. As she did often, Graham placed herself in her own piece as the bride of a newly married couple whose optimism for starting a new life together is countered by a grounded pioneer woman and a sermon-giving revivalist. Two of Graham's pieces--Cave of Heart (1946) and Night Journey (1947)—display her intrigue not only with Greek mythology but also with the psyche of a woman, as both pieces retell Greek myths from a woman's point of view.
In 1936, Graham created Chronicle, which brought serious issues to the stage in a dramatic manner. Influenced by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Great Depression that followed, and the Spanish Civil War, the dance focused on depression and isolation, reflected in the dark nature of both the set and costumes.
That same year, in conjunction with the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, the German government wanted to include dance in the Art Competitions that took place during the Olympics, an event that previously included architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and literature. Although Josef Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, was not appreciative of the modern dance art form and changed Germany's dance from more avant-garde to traditional, he and Adolf Hitler still agreed to invite Graham to represent the United States. ButMartha Graham refused the invitation by stating:
I would find it impossible to dance in Germany at the present time. So many artists whom I respect and admire have been persecuted, have been deprived of the right to work for ridiculous and unsatisfactory reasons, that I should consider it impossible to identify myself, by accepting the invitation, with the regime that has made such things possible. In addition, some of my concert group would not be welcomed in Germany.
Josef Goebbels himself wrote her a letter assuring her that her Jewish dancers would "receive complete immunity", however, it was not enough for Graham to accept such invitation.
Stimulated by the occurrences of the 1936 Olympic Games, and the propaganda that she heard through the radio from the Axis Powers, Martha Graham creates American Document in 1938. The dance expresses American ideals and democracy as Graham realized that it could empower men and inspire them to fight fascist and Nazi ideologies. American Document ended up as a patriotic statement focusing on rights and injustices of the time, representing the American people including its Native-American heritage and slavery. For Graham, a dance needed to "reveal certain national characteristics because without these characteristics the dance would have no validity, no roots, no direct relation to life".
The beginning of American Document marks modern concepts of performance art joining dance, theater and literature and clearly defining the roles of the spectator and the actors/dancers. The narrator/actor starts with "establishing an awareness of the present place and time, which serves not only as a bridge between past and present, but also between individual and collective, particular and general". Together with her unique technique, this sociological and philosophical innovation sets dance as a clear expression of current ideas and places Graham as a pillar of the modern dance revolution.
1938 became a big year for Graham; the Roosevelts invited Graham to dance at the White House, making her the first dancer to perform there. Also, in 1938, Erick Hawkins became the first man to dance with her company. He officially joined her troupe the following year, dancing male lead in a number of Graham's works. They were married in July 1948 after the New York premiere of Night Journey. He left her troupe in 1951 and they divorced in 1954.
On April 1, 1958, the Martha Graham Dance Company premiered the ballet, Clytemnestra, based on the ancient Greek legend Clytemnestra and it became a huge success and great accomplishment for Graham. With a score by Egyptian-born composer Halim El-Dabh, this ballet was a large scale work and the only full-length work in Graham's career. Graham choreographed and danced the title role, spending almost the entire duration of the performance on the stage. The ballet was based on the Greek mythology of the same title and tells the story of Queen Clytemnestra who is married to King Agamemnon. Agamemnon sacrifices their daughter, Iphigenia, on a pyre, as an offering to the gods to assure fair winds to Troy, where the Trojan War rages. Upon Agamemnon's return after 10 years, Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon to avenge the murder of Iphigenia. Clytemnestra is then murdered by her son, Orestes, and the audience experiences Clytemnestra in the afterworld. This ballet was deemed a masterpiece of 20th-century American modernism and was so successful it had a limited engagement showing on Broadway.
Graham collaborated with many composers for her dances, including Aaron Copland on Appalachian Spring, Louis Horst, Samuel Barber, William Schuman, Carlos Surinach, Norman Dello Joio, and Gian Carlo Menotti.
When Louis Horst, her oldest friend and musical collaborator died in 1964. She said of him: “His sympathy and understanding, but primarily his faith, gave me a landscape to move in. Without it, I should certainly have been lost.”
Graham resisted requests for her dances to be recorded because she believed that live performances should only exist on stage as they are experienced. There were a few notable exceptions. For example, in addition to her collaboration with Sunami in the 1920s, she also worked on a limited basis with still photographers Imogen Cunningham in the 1930s, and Barbara Morgan in the 1940s. Graham considered Philippe Halsman's photographs of Dark Meadow the most complete photographic record of any of her dances. Halsman also photographed in the 1940s Letter to the World, Cave of the Heart, Night Journey and Every Soul is a Circus. In later years her thinking on the matter evolved and others convinced her to let them recreate some of what was lost.
In 1952 Graham allowed taping of her meeting and cultural exchange with famed deafblind author, activist and lecturer Helen Keller, who, after a visit to one of Graham's company rehearsals became a close friend and supporter. Graham was inspired by Keller's joy from and interpretation of dance, utilizing her body to feel the vibration of drums and of feet and movement moving the air around her.
In 1957, Graham was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In her 1991 autobiography, Blood Memory, Graham lists her final performance as her 1970 appearance in Cortege of Eagles when she was 76 years old. Graham's choreographies span 181 compositions.
It wasn't until years after I had relinquished a ballet that I could bear to watch someone else dance it. I believe in never looking back, never indulging in nostalgia, or reminiscing. Yet how can you avoid it when you look on stage and see a dancer made up to look as you did thirty years ago, dancing a ballet you created with someone you were then deeply in love with, your husband? I think that is a circle of hell Dante omitted.
In the years that followed her departure from the stage, Graham sank into a deep depression fueled by views from the wings of young dancers performing many of the dances she had choreographed for herself and her former husband. Graham's health declined precipitously as she abused alcohol to numb her pain.
Graham not only survived her hospital stay, but she rallied.
In 1972, she quit drinking, returned to her studio, reorganized her company, and went on to choreograph ten new ballets and many revivals.
There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976 by President Gerald Ford (the First Lady Betty Ford had danced with Graham in her youth). Ford declared her "a national treasure".
In 1984 Graham was awarded the highest French order of merit, the Legion of Honour by then Minister of culture Jack Lang.
Graham was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 1990 the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Graham with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her last completed ballet was 1990's Maple Leaf Rag.
Graham choreographed until her death in New York City from pneumonia in 1991, aged 96. Just before she became sick with pneumonia, she finished the final draft of her autobiography, Blood Memory, which was published posthumously in the fall of 1991. She was cremated, and her ashes were spread over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico.
Graham has been sometimes termed the "Picasso of Dance" in that her importance and influence to modern dance can be considered equivalent to what Pablo Picasso was to modern visual arts. Her impact has been also compared to the influence of Stravinsky on music and Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture.
To celebrate what would have been her 117th birthday on May 11, 2011, Google's logo for one day was turned into one dedicated to Graham's life and legacy.
Graham has been said to be the one that brought dance into the 20th century. The Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest dance company in America. It has helped develop many famous dancers and choreographers of the 20th and 21st centuries since its foundation in 1926.
Due to the work of her assistants, much of Graham's work and technique have been preserved.