Scot D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino

Text in English and French
French Translation by
Guy Leclercq

With Illustrations by
Anne Bachelier


Illustrations from
The Princess of Wax
© Anne Bachelier

But it was within the fragile limbs and reed-like torso, all exquisitely sculpted of wax, that the true magic lie—the ashes of a ballerina, who danced a century before; hollow bones from a sparrow’s wing; and seawater to fill the tiny stained-glass orbs that were her eyes. And set deeper still, set at the core, was a silver reliquary…

—Excerpt from The Princess of Wax

In April 2003, Neil Zukerman and CFM Gallery, New York City, published The Princess of Wax—A Cruel Tale/La Princesse de cire—Un Conte cruel written by Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino with illustrations by acclaimed artist Anne Bachelier. This strange fairy tale and Bachelier’s ravishing visual interpretation of it are inspired by the extraordinary, real-life subject of the authors’ worldwide critically-acclaimed biography Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati. Still available exclusively from CFM Gallery, The Princess of Wax was released as a deluxe limited edition book with text in both English and French. In April-May 2003, CFM Gallery mounted a splendid five-week exhibition of Bachelier’s artwork, featuring a remarkable series of oil paintings inspired by The Princess of Wax. Originally heralded in the February 2003 issue of Vanity Fair, the book received immediate laudatory notices upon its publication. So in addition to featured coverage in Gallery & Studio, Art World News, IN New York and Night Magazine, Gallery Guide dubbed The Princess of Wax 'an innovative, dark fairy tale,' while WHERE New York called it 'a sumptuous limited-edition volume,' and Grazia D'Annunzio of Vogue Italia praised the work as 'an intriguing, never-ending journey through eccentricity, obsession, love, cruelty, glamour and destiny.'

Bachelier was our only choice to visually conceive this tale of
love, magic and the fantastic. Indeed, we wrote it for her.
The magnificent work she has created for the project has more
than exceeded our expectations—Bachelier has astonished us.
                             —Scot D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino

A wicked noblewoman presides over a decadent court of masked revelers. The most beautiful of waxen automatons is brought to life by a sorceress, her very heart hiding a deadly secret. And then love triumphs, if but for a single moment, before a sudden and terrifying finale. This is the bizarre world of The Princess of Wax.

Authors Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino constructed the work in the style of the classic French conte cruel—a literary form typified by the use of a timeless, fairy-tale setting; a baroque storyline combining the beautiful and the grotesque; and an unexpectedly horrific conclusion. Woven into the sinister work, Ryersson and Yaccarino have fancifully incorporated some of the more outlandish elements associated with the life and eccentric persona of the Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957). As one of the most influential and artistically represented figures of the early 20th century international arts scene, Casati was the basis for numerous fictional characters during and after her lifetime. With her passion for the weird and wonderful, the Marchesa would have surely been intrigued by The Princess of Wax and her vital role as muse in its invention.

I envision the universe of La Princesse de cire to be
an endless danse macabre broken by moments of tenderness.
                                                             —Anne Bachelier


© Joseph Caprio

For more than twenty-five years, contemporary French Surrealist artist Anne Bachelier has captured dreams on canvas. She has been dubbed ‘art’s enchanting Scheherazade’ (Gallery & Studio), a reputation established through international exhibitions of an ever-growing gallery of sorceresses, chimeras and other mythical creatures.

Born on February 20, 1949 in Louvigne du Desert, France, Bachelier studied art formally from 1966 to 1969 at the École des Beaux-Arts, La Seyne-sur-Mer, before serving an apprenticeship at an engraving shop in Valence from 1974 to 1975. Since 1989, she has been exhibited frequently throughout France and on both coasts of the United States. Painter, printmaker, ballet designer and illustrator, Bachelier is also a wife, mother of three and has three grandchildren. She lives and works near Grenoble, France.

Although Bachelier’s work has been admirably compared to that of Goya, Moreau, Magritte, and Fini, she has undeniably produced an artistic cosmos both enchanted and completely her own. With the stroke of a paintbrush, Bachelier invites the viewer to join what she calls her ‘thought-beings’ in perpetual rituals of revelation and transformation. In the insightful essay ‘Bound to Earth, Yearning for Immortality’ (Sunstorm/Fine Art, fall 1993), Barbara King successfully endeavors to define Bachelier’s incomparable artistry:

Her personages present archetypes engaging in matters of great import and on a grand scale. The spectator witnesses the unfolding of a drama that evokes a dream-like mystery; an intangible, ethereal otherworldliness that is simultaneously powerful, peaceful, and protective. The visions of Anne Bachelier capture the macabre with grandeur, power, and riveting beauty.

Artist and author-signed copies of the book, as well a selection of the original Bachelier mixed-media illustrations for and oil paintings inspired by The Princess of Wax, are still available.

CFM Gallery

CLICK HERE to order book.

The Princess of Wax—A Cruel Tale (or La Princesse de cire—Un Conte cruel) contains a text in both English and French. Renowned translator Guy Leclercq has prepared the latter. A professor of the Sorbonne, Leclercq teaches at the École Supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs (L’ESIT), Paris. Notable career highlights include: the first French translation of John Dryden’s King Arthur, Edward Lear’s Nonsense Poetry for the collection Femmes a-sensées (Éditions Autrement) and more than thirty poetry translations and studies ranging from Shakespeare to Poe and E. E. Cummings. His celebrated version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Au Bord des Continents) will be followed by its sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Au Bord des Continents). Equally adept at French-to-English translation, Leclercq has concentrated on the texts of such Decadent and Modern writers as Baudelaire, Verlaine, Desnos, Prévert, Queneau, Vian and Tardieu. It is noteworthy that Leclercq is the translator of the French-language version of Ryersson and Yaccarino’s Infinite Variety released by Éditions Assouline in January 2003.

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