Ina Ginsburg, who fled Nazi Europe to emigrate to the United States and went on to become one of the tastemakers of Washington society, died Nov. 9 at her Washington, D.C., home at the age of 98.
The stylish and social Ginsburg intersected with the careers of artist Andy Warhol, who drew her in several silk-screen portraits, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also hailed from her native Austria — and with many of the movers and shakers in Georgetown and Washington during the second half of the 20th century.
Ginsburg hosted parties at her Georgetown home which she shared with her second husband, David Ginsburg, a Washington insider, whom he met after the end of World War II in Europe when he was with the U.S. Army. Later, she worked as the Washington editor for Warhol’s Interview Magazine in the 1980s, when it branded Washington as “Hollywood on the Potomac.”
A supporter of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Ginsburg was also a founding member of the Washington National Opera and trustee of the American Film Institute. She also brought art into the Federal Reserve’s headquarters and helped to begin the Fed’s fine arts board.
Interviewed herself and written about by other publications, Ginsburg was often in the pages of The Georgetowner as well. She was last seen on its website in an Oct. 8 story about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being presented with the Institute for Education’s 2014 Cultural Diplomacy Award.
“Ina was an integral part of Washington at its very best,” said photographer Didi Cutler. “Intelligent, glamorous, sophisticated , artistic and creative, she was a passionate supporter of the arts. A warm and gracious hostess, she entertained in great style. I felt privileged to be among her many friends.”
Kevin Chaffee, senior editor at Washington Life, said: “Ina was one of the most sophisticated and fashionable women in Washington for well over a half-century and also one of the wittiest and most intelligent. After I read her stories in Andy Warhol’s Interview back in the Reagan years, she would tell me all the stuff she didn’t dare put in! Later, she was a great source for my own pieces. She was a major character — the last of the best in so many ways.”
Born Ida Spira in Vienna on Oct. 10, 1916, Ginsburg is survived by her three children — Jonathan Ginsburg of Fairfax, Va., Susan Ginsburg of Alexandria, Va., and Mark Ginsburg of Berlin — and by two grandchildren.