The character of authenticity and veracity in the interiors of Victoria Ocampo’s houses

“For my happiness it is necessary that a Louis XV sofa be a Louis XV sofa, that a kitchen chair or a bamboo table be a kitchen chair or a bamboo table. (…) No matter what, but authentic.”

Victoria Ocampo’s words from her Autobiography.

So much has been studied and written about Victoria Ocampo and her houses…Today, modestly in my words, I participate the reader of my own experience visiting Victoria Ocampo’s houses, the emotional experience of finding that atmosphere of veracity, authenticity and integrity in the Interiors … finding in each object, in each piece of furniture, in each book the huge world of the much admired, argentine, universal, and womanly Victoria. In the Interiors, each element she chose is a witness of her times and the friends that once passed by there: Tagore, Stravinsky, Roger Callois, Gabriela Mistral, Le Corbusier, Ortega y Gasset… and those who were there only in her thoughts: Virginia Wolff, Picasso… all of them make up the soul that can still be felt inside the houses of V.O. A magical experience like the one Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” invites us on when it takes us to that world on the other side of the mirror.

Villa Victoria in Mar del Plata, with its interiors upholstered in flora and fauna motifs of the Victorian style.

Villa Ocampo in San Isidro, recycled by Victoria in the 40’s with its interiors entirely painted white, combining the classic style of its original architecture and a minimalist modern White.

The house designed by Alejandro Bustillo in 1928 in the street Rufino de Elizalde, where Victoria adheres to vanguard from the architectural box and scandalizes her Palermo Chico neighbors.

Authenticity spills over the walls’ limits and reaches the gardens; Victoria’s paradise on earth, with spaces for contemplation such as the gazebo facing the river, its avenues of century-old oak trees, or the gingkoes that carpet with gold-colored leaves the gardens of the Palermo and San Isidro houses in autumn.

Victoria Ocampo writes: “The beauty of things that are what they seem.”, and thus summarizes the incommensurable legacy of her writings, her houses and her life.

Paula Herrero – Jun 2008.