20 Eccentric Images From The Rothschild Surrealist Ball

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On December 12th, 1972, Baroness Marie-Helene de Rothschild held one of history’s most coveted fete. The Parisian society waited eagerly for an invite from the wealthy Rothschild family for their surrealism based evening of extravagance. Guest Baron Alexis de Redé later recalled, “Marie Hélène proved that she had the flare and imagination to create something unique and worthwhile“. Despite considered to be a rather secretive gathering, the images of the occasion have surfaced on the web.

Lateral Invitations

Baroness Marie-Helene planned extensively to keep with the theme. A mirror was required to read the laterally inverted text of the invitations, which specified a dress code of ‘black ties, long dresses & surrealist heads’.

Château de Ferrières

Johnny Depp’s fans will recognize Château de Ferrières from Roman Polanski’s movie “The Ninth Gate”. For the surrealist ball, the Rothschild manor appeared ablaze as it was floodlit with moving vermilion amber lights.


This old photograph captures Baroness Marie-Helene in conversation with Baron Alexis de Rede. Being a committed aesthete, Baron Alexis de Rede enjoyed the challenge of the host’s theme based costume.

Crafted by Artists

Baron Alexis de Rede commissioned Salvador Dali to create his two-faced mask for the surrealist ball.

The Hosts

Before the evening commenced, the guests were greeted by the hosts, Guy de Rothschild and his wife Marie-Helene de Rothschild; who wore an ornate stag mask crying tears of diamonds.

Salvador Dali

The ball was attended by the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali himself. This picture captures him in front of his famous depiction of Mae West.

Surrealistic Centerpieces

Emaciated and dismembered dolls were artistically juxtaposed to create surrealistic centerpieces.

Evening of Fascination

The guests were welcomed and served by servants dressed in cat-like outfits.

The Creative Mix

Marie-Helene being a grand socialite, was very fond of meeting fresh creative personalities. She carefully selected her guests mixing a wide range of personas that spanned from aristocrats to artists.

Manor of Surprises

Upon entering the manor, guests had to pass through a labyrinth covered with black ribbons. The evening ahead was filled with many other exhibits.


The food was served under polished metallic pieces that ranged from amphibians to mythical creatures.

Haute Couture

The wardrobe of all guests were created by leading fashion houses. This photo shows supermodel Marisa Berenson wearing a black gothic gown with a massive vibrant headpiece.

Movie Stars

The guest list included many celebrities. This vintage photo shows actress Audrey Hepburn peeping through a golden cage.

Biblical References

This unidentified guest is seen wearing a headpiece that is inspired from the “forbidden fruit” of the Garden of Eden.

Dreamy Arrangements

Food items were displayed carefully to create a banquet that stayed in tune with surrealistic art.


Miniature decorative pieces carefully displayed across the manor kept the guests entertained throughout the evening.

Fashion and Art

The surrealist ball balanced art and fashion. The peculiar and absurd décor was also heavily inspired by Marie-Helene’s sense of fashion.

Mysterious Scents

This picture shows the famous perfumer Hélène Rochas with a Gramophone-arm hat enjoying the ball.

The Mastermind

Marie-Helene was known for her attention to detail. Her flare and creative mind brought to life a dreamlike evening of grandeur.

Haunting Figures

The manor was not only decorated in lights and fantastical ornaments, but also with ceramic human-like pale, nude figures in various positions.