When Inge Feltrinelli passed away on September 20th, the Italian media was quick to celebrate her as “the queen of Italian publishing.” Yet the 87-year-old was much more than that.
A world-renowned photographer, she shot iconic portraits of Pablo Picasso, Greta Garbo, and Ernest Hemingway (and was also good friends with the latter). She was married to one of Italy’s most controversial figures, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli for 12 years, until his death in 1972.
After her husband died, during a supposed terrorist attack on the Milan electricity network, she became president of the company, which she led together with her son Carlo. They moved the company away from its original leftist orientation toward more mainstream books. But she continued to believe that books could change society.
Ms. Feltrinelli had an eye for promising writers and formed close relationships with Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, Günther Grass, Doris Lessing and Daniel Pennac, as well as the Italian writers, Stefano Benni, Antonio Tabucchi and Alessandro Baricco.