Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mercedes de Acosta, 1953
Not on view
Pietro Yantorny (1874-1936), the self-proclaimed "most expensive shoemaker in the world", was a consummate craftsman utterly devoted to the artistry of his chosen trade. As a compliment to his knowledge of shoemaking, Yantorny studied the art of making shoe trees in London for two years, returned to Paris in 1900 to study last making, and opened his own last making shop in about 1904 followed by his shoemaking business in 1908. Yantorny's trees are as meticulously crafted as his shoes, with featherweight hollow construction, proprietary luminous varnish finish, and gilded hardware. Mercedes de Acosta, the sister of voracious client Rita de Acosta Lydig, recounted that the trees were made from old violins which Rita purchased for the purpose. While this claim is apocryphal, it is evocative of the exquisite craftsmanship and lightness of Yantorny shoe trees.