Natalie Clifford Barney
- Category : 1876-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 3
American playwright, poet and novelist who lived as an expatriate in Paris.
Barney's salon was held at her home at 20 rue Jacob in Paris' Left Bank for more than 60 years and brought together writers and artists from around the world, including many leading figures in French literature along with American and British Modernists of the Lost Generation. She worked to promote writing by women and formed a "Women's Academy" (L'Académie des Femmes) in response to the all-male French Academy while also giving support and inspiration to male writers from Remy de Gourmont to Truman Capote.
She was openly lesbian and began publishing love poems to women under her own name as early as 1900, inviting scandal. In her writings she supported feminism and pacifism. She opposed monogamy and had many overlapping long and short-term relationships, including on-and-off romances with poet Renée Vivien and dancer Armen Ohanian and a 50-year relationship with painter Romaine Brooks. Her life and love affairs served as inspiration for many novels, ranging from the salacious French bestseller "Sapphic Idyll" (1901) by the courtesan Liane de Pougy to Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" (1928), the most famous lesbian novel of the twentieth century.
Barney practiced, and advocated, non-monogamy. Among the liaisons—the relationships that she considered most important—were Olive Custance, Renée Vivien, Elisabeth de Gramont, Romaine Brooks, and Dolly Wilde. Of these, the three longest relationships were with de Gramont, Brooks, and Wilde; from 1927, she was involved with all three of them simultaneously, a situation that ended only with Wilde's death. Her shorter affairs, such as those with Colette and Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, often evolved into lifelong friendships.
Barney died in Paris on 2 February 1972 of heart failure, aged 95.