Caterine Milinaire, Exceptional Icon of An Exceptional Era



Caterine, Lisette Prince, Duncan Chapman

Better to be Milinaire than millionaire, and to have lived an adventurous, artistic, intercontinental life that spanned milieux from high fashion to photography to film to publishing and exploding art worlds, here and abroad.


Working with Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Diana Vreeland, Marlon Brando, Irving Penn, Dennis Hopper and Francesco Scavullo, and witnessing the birth of New York Magazine and Interview, Caterine Milinaire has brought her talents home to Newport, where she resides with Fred Cushing, an artist.  A  show of her photography and the art from her new children's book "Liana, The Wandering Vine",  are on display  at Newport's Isherwood Gallery.


Newport Seen caught up with the enchanting Ms. Milinaire, and asked her about her fascinating life.


Kitty Cushing, Annie Owen Pontez

NS: How are you related to the Duke of Bedford?


CM: My French born mother; presently called Nicole, the Dowager Duchess of Bedford,was one of the first international female film producer of her time in the 1950's. She is now 92, in good health, and still full of valuable counsel in all fields. My father had a design studio where I learned to draw at an early age. My parents separated early on. From the time I was 8, with my brothers and sisters, we spent a fair amount of time at the various film studios where my mother worked, fascinated by the process of film making. During our school vacation she would let us use her latest cameras, probably the source of my fascination with the medium. During the shooting of one of her TV series in London, she met John Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford, who became my stepfather in 1960.


He was one of the kindest, most humorous man I ever met. While living at his estate "Woburn Abbey", Bedfordshire, I learned a great deal about English historyand his brilliant ways of transforming his ancestral home into one of the most visited stately homes in Great Britain.



Caterine, Steve Lipman and gallery owner Nancy Isherwood

NS: When did you come to the United States, and what brought you?


CM: In the early 60's I was working in London for "Queen Magazine" as their Youth fashion editor. While covering the Paris collection of emerging YSL for the magazine I met Diana Vreeland, who enjoyed the vitality of the new English designers and their artistic scene. As the very inspired editor in chief of "US Vogue" at the time, she asked me to come and create some youth fashion pages in New York for the magazine.


Nick Benson, Diane Oswald, Alix Flood

NS:How did you begin writing books?

CM: After our child, Serafine, with the painter Mati Klarwein, was born in 1971 in Santa Fe, New Mexico - out of passion for the miracle of giving birth - I wrote and photographed a book simply entitled: "Birth ". It struck a chord with parents at the time, as Harmony books (a division of Crown publishers, now owned by Random House) sold over half a million copies, with multiple reprints and one update.

To continue in my interests with affordable fashion I co-wrote the seminal bestselling fashion/photo/drawing filled book entitled "Cheap Chic", with Carol Troy for the same publisher.

NS: What were your favorite photo assignments with Sygma, and why?


Jamie Coleman, Derek & Nicole Limbocker

CM: As a free lance I continued taking photographic stories which were distributed by theFrench/US agency Sygma, headed by Eliane Laffont. who in 1976 sent me to photograph the Cannes Film festival and on to the set of Francis Ford Coppola”s "Apocalypse Now" in the Philippines, in which my friend from New Mexico days actor Dennis Hopper was featured. He was very gifted in the many fields of film making, painting and shared his passion for photography with me. I went on to photograph on the set of many other films internationally. While traveling on various stories Igathered pictures for my next book; "Celebrations", documenting and writing about fiestas, ceremonies and rituals around the world.


NS: How did you meet Fred Cushing?


CM: The great French Paris Match photographer: Jean Claude Sauer, in charge of assignments at he time in the US, introduced me to his best friend in Newport,R.I., Fred Cushing, who had lived and worked in Paris for 8 years and was a great francophile. We had much in common, Fred had also worked in films, besides the financial world, and together we formed a video company: Telltales Associates while we lived in New York. We produced and shot many videos over decades for Museums, Tourist Association, Hotels, Boat companies etc, always bringing up all
our editing equipment in the summer to work in the coolness of Newport.


Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Cushing, Barbara Chapman

NS: How do you place Newport in the spectrum of the world's cities you have known and lived in?


CM: Eventually we preferred to remain in Newport year round. Fred would go on to paint very fine oil landscapes, some inspired by his grandfather Howard Cushing's pointillist paintings, which can be seen at the Newport Art Museum. Having lived in major cities most of my life I began to appreciate the slower pace of this unique historical port city by the seashore; its magnificent trees and gardens all around. The hard work of the estate caretakers such as John Almeida, to whom my latest book is dedicated. The slower pace of Newport - from Labor day to Memorial day - allowed me time to go back to drawing in a peaceful environment.


NS: Is there any one child, or some other inspiration for your new children's books?


 David and Dee Gordon, Wendy and George David, Fred Cushing,

& Caterine Milinaire


 CM: As I finished my latest book: "LIANA the Wandering Vine"; a green fantasy for children age 5 to 8, for the show "VERDANTS" at "Isherwood Gallery". On one wall are displayed my photographs inspired from nature, and on the next wall the pen, Ink and watercolor drawings I created relating the adventures of LIANA, the leafy creature. Newport has always had a special quiet way to inspire artists !


                                                                          -- L.P.



To view Caterine Milinaire's work, go to

The gallery is located at  108 Willliam Street in Newport



Tim and Gina DiPietro, Caterine, and the DiPietros

Joe Mele & Caterine

Artist Cherry Hall

Jae & John French

 Monique Coleman holding Caterine's children's book

Lewis & Elizabeth Rutherfurd

  Barbara Duncan, Monique & Jamie Coleman, Kate Gubelman

Ella & Ally Coulter

Matthew Cullen, Norey Cullen & friend

Caterine Milinaire & Jim Coleman

The opening night crowd

Gina & Tom DiPietro

Edie Cushing, Elizabeth McMillen & Julie Warburton

 Kelly Cushing, Diane & Robert Beaver

Minnie Cushing, Justine Cushing, Mary McFadden & Caterine

The artist/writer with a photograph/book illustration

Caterine Milinaire, Nancy Isherwood, & Steve Whitney

Mr. Whitney & Ms. Milinaire talking techniques

Mrs. Steve Whitney  at Gallery Night

An art lover


Editor's note:  Ms. Milinaire's exhibition has ended, but her children's book Liana is available at The Isherwood Gallery
Photos by Rafael Medina & Newport Seen












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