She entertained poets and painters, was a muse to artists like Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec and bankrolled ballet when it ran into dire straits.

So why do so few know of the extraordinary queen of Paris, Misia Sert? 

Sert painted by Renoir.Sert painted by Renoir.

Misia Sert was a gifted pianist in her own right, but it was her patronage of the arts in the early 20th century that set her apart from her peers.

Brought up in Brussels and Paris, her home became a mecca for writers, painters, composers and other artists.

When artists’ costumes were about to repossesed on the opening night of the ballet Petrushka, Misia Sert reached for her pocketbook and paid the 4,000 francs needed to stop that from happening.

When Diaghilev lay dying in Venice she was at his side and, after his death in August 1929, she paid for his funeral, honouring the man who had been such an important influence in the world of ballet.

Lecturer Julian Halsby will explore the life of the extraordinary Ms Sert in a lecture to be held on Thursday May 23 at the Salini resort in St Paul’s Bay. The lecture will begin at 6.30pm.

The lecture is free for all DFASinMalta members, with tickets to non-members available at €15.

Contact Nicky Stilon at maltadfas@gmail.com for reservations.

Sert and Coco Chanel.Sert and Coco Chanel.