Vali Myers, A Memoir

A legend in her own time, Australian artist Vali Myers was the premiere dancer with the Melbourne Modern Ballet at the age of seventeen. Leaving home in 1950, she spent years in Paris, where the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken photographed her and some of the other young people hanging out in the cafes. Those photos became the book, Love on the Left Bank. During that period she befriended George Plimpton, who published an article about her, along with some of her drawings, in The Paris Review, the first time her artwork was in print.

In 1958, Vali and her then-husband Rudi Rappold made a home for themselves in the wild Valley of Il Porto in Positano, Italy, where she would live for the next forty years, working on her exquisite drawings and looking after a large menagerie of animals. She fought local authorities who wanted to introduce loggers into the Valley, and succeeded in having it designated a protected wildlife oasis.

When she returned to Australia in 1993 for the first time since she’d left, she found herself welcomed as a national treasure. In this memoir by her long-time companion Gianni Menichetti, Vali’s life and life’s work are brought into beautiful, clear focus with wit, candor, and great affection.

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