desert island pieces: with Linda Rodin

In this new series we ask our guests to pick the eight pieces of art they would take to a desert island to gaze at ‘til the end of time.

 It’s an honour to introduce our very first guest, a personal hero of mine, Linda Rodin. She is the silver-haired stylist, photographer, accidental beauty entrepreneur and taste-maker extraordinaire (also owner of my fantasy home and dog). Most of the art / fashion world is a little bit in love with her effortless style and the beautiful bric-a-brac that bejewels her apartment in Chelsea, New York.

 I had the pleasure of chatting to Linda over the stretch of a hazy July week; sifting through her art and sifting through many happy memories. She says, “Art is so instinctive. I don’t waffle back and forth. If I love it, I love it.”


Gösta Peterson (Turn Gallery)

"Gösta was my mentor and, in my opinion, one of the best photographers ever. He photographed Salvador Dali and all of the jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. He was also the first to take photos of Twiggy in America. I was one of his studio assistants, as was Arthur Elgort and Deborah Turberville. He was an inspiration to so many, in fact, Wes Anderson’s poster for Moonrise Kingdom seems to be inspired by Gösta’s picture of his son Jan with his Boy Scout troop. He was a true artist. He would get assignments for Vogue and say, “Wonderful! I will find a great model.” If they said no to his choice he’d reply, “Forget it. I’m not doing it.” I worked as his assistant for many years. I admired his work in fashion magazines and so I looked him in the telephone book (one could do that in the ‘70s), found his address, and turned up at his studio. When I arrived no-one was there. I was devastated. I sat on the doorstep feeling so deflated. Then this gorgeous guy comes bounding round the corner. He approached me and saw my little black portfolio of work and he said, “Oh, so you’re here to model?" I said, “No, I want to be a photographer.” He hired me on the spot. He opened up the doors of fashion photography to me and totally changed my life. I am still very friendly with his daughter Annika who owns Turn Gallery, where I get a lot of my art.  She has impeccable taste like her dad. This was one of Gösta's early photographs that was in Annika’s first show, so I had to buy it. I am also very close to his wife, Patricia Peterson, who was the New York Times fashion editor at the time.” / @turngallery

(Gösta Peterson, Central Park, New York City, New York Times, 1965)

 Andy Mister (Turn Gallery)

"I discovered Andy Mister at Annika’s gallery. This really spoke to me. It looks like a photograph but it’s all painted meticulously and beautifully. At almost every show at Turn Gallery I’d acquire a wonderful new work of art. Annika has discovered all these fabulous people and she is pretty dynamic herself." / / @turngallery

Portrait of my Mother, Dario 1941

"This beautiful woman is my mother. I remember this portrait from when I was a little girl. My mother was a really rare beauty. An artist called Dario painted it in 1941 and my mother held onto it in the original frame. My parents passed away so the portrait went to my sister. Sadly, my sister also passed away and the painting became mine. At this point in my mother’s life her parents were doing well and they commissioned this artist for her portrait. It’s so evocative of the early 1940’s. My mother then moved to LA to be an actress but it didn’t work out. She returned to New York, met my father and settled on Long Island, New York where I grew up with my sister, an artist and my brother who became an architect. My mother was very creative. She had boundless energy and curiosity about all things artistic. I am grateful that I had her as an inspiration. She had an antiques shop; she was an interior decorator; a sculptor and she designed hats. Once she and her partner took their hat designs to Bergdorf Goodman and they said, “Oh we’ll just hold onto these and see what happens.”  She never heard back. Three weeks later she and her partner were driving past the store and saw that Halston had stolen the designs and they were in the windows!  She of course moved on to many more creative endeavours. She was very sociable, always doing something. One day we came home from school and our mother had re-decorated the kitchen with black wallpaper and huge royal blue flowers. This was pre-Warhol!  We all gasped, “A black and blue kitchen?!” She was always ahead of her time.”

(Linda's bedroom) 

Christine Rodin

"My sister borrowed these shells from me many years ago. I’m an avid “shell collector”. I love all things aquatic and she wanted to photograph these. Three appeared in Tiffany’s windows in the 90’s! I treasure these images."

 (Linda's living room)

Dr. Walter Rodin, 1958

"This beautiful piece is by my dad. He was a dentist but he was also a very artistic. When my parents were younger, they started a "Crazy Couples Club" with their friends. Every weekend each couple would have to decide on that Saturday night’s activity. One weekend they rented a hair salon and the husbands had to do the women’s hair. Another weekend they did a life-drawing class with a nude model. No one knew he could draw so well....he did this in two strokes. So cubist and modern. My mother loved it and framed it. It’s been in that frame for 60 years. My father was very intellectual; he was always reading and learning. He also played the piano. He liked to stay home but my mother wanted to go out all the time. It was the strife in their marriage. I’m like my mother during the day- happy to be out and about- and my father by night. You can’t pry me out the house after 5pm."

Kurt Craemer, 1949

"I was in Positano three years ago, staying in the same hotel I had stayed in when I visited with my mother in 1968, when I was living in Italy. While on this trip in 2017, I would walk six miles a day, all over the adjacent towns near Positano. I happened to walk into this gallery not far from my hotel and saw it. I fell in love with it instantly. It was very expensive. I couldn’t afford it but I couldn’t bear not to buy it. And so I did. It took months to get here in a huge wooden box. It is Matisse-like and so lovely.  I was asked not long ago by the shop where I bought it if I would send it to Germany to be in a very important art show. I said, "Oh I’m sorry. I just can’t part with it”

Christine Rodin, 2007

"My sister was hugely creative. She was a ceramicist and a photographer. She bought a house upstate near Hudson in the '90s and would drive up and take these beautiful photographs of the surroundings. She would print the photos herself and frame them with vintage frames she found at the flea market. She did it until the day she died."

(shells by Christine Rodin)

Josh Jefferson (Turn Gallery)

"This also from Turn Gallery, from Annika's second show.  Josh is a really interesting young artist. I love his work. I walked in to the gallery. I walked straight to this painting and I bought it. All of his work is so interesting.” / @turngallery