The Queens of Poetry (part 2)

Anna, Marquise Mathieu de Noailles (born Anna Elisabeth Bibesco-Bassaraba, Princess de Brancovan; 1 November or 15 November 1876 – 30 April 1933 (56 years), Romanian-French writer.

Born in Paris and a descendant of the Bibescu and Craioveşti families of Romanian boyars, she was the daughter of Prince Grégoire Bibesco-Bassaraba, a son of Wallachian Prince Gheorghe Bibesco de Brancovan and Zoe Brâncoveanu. Her Greek mother was the former Ralouka (Rachel) Musuru, a well known musician, to whom the Polish composer Ignacy Paderewski dedicated several of compositions. In 1897 she married Marquis Mathieu Fernand Frédéric Pascal de Noailles (1873-1942), the fourth son of the 7th Duke de Noailles. The couple soon became the toast of Parisian high society. They had one child, a son, Count Anne Jules de Noailles (1900-1979).

Representing the 'parnasianism' and the literary Belle Époque, Anna de Noailles wrote novels, an autobiography, and a number of poems. She was elected as a member of the prestigious 'Académie Royale Belge de Langue et de Littérature Françaises' and awarded by the 'French Academy', who awarded her with the 'Grand Prix pour literature'. At the beginning of the 20th century, her salon on the Avenue Hoche attracted the intellectual, literary and artistic elite of the day including Francis Jammes, Paul Claudel, Colette, André Gide, Frédéric Mistral, Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac, Paul Valéry, Jean Cocteau, Alphonse Daudet, Pierre Loti, Paul Hervieu, Maurice Barrès, and Max Jacob.


So popular was Anna de Noailles that various notable artists of the day painted her portrait, including Antonio de la Gandara, Kees van Dongen, Jacques Émile Blanche, and the British portrait painter Philip de Laszlo. In 1906 her image was sculpted by Auguste Rodin, and can be seen today in the Musée Rodin in Paris. She died in 1933 and was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Anna de Noailles was the first woman to become a 'Commander of the Legion of Honor', and the Académie Française named a prize in her honor.

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