Artist, Stylist Robert Novel Dies

O Salon, the popular salon that has been part of the Georgetown neighborhood for decades, has lost one of its greats. Robert Novel, who was a partner at the salon back in the 1970s, passed away March 31. Novel, who was in his 70s, was passionate about art and was a purist as an artist. Many of his clients lasted his entire career, with his first job being at Bruno Dessange.

When O Salon’s rent inflated at its space on Wisconsin Avenue, it moved into the current O Street space. Novel stayed on but not as a partner. After developing some health issues, he decided life is short and he loved to paint. He started painting and traveling with his wife Madge to Paris yearly.

Novel, a native New Yorker, was involved with the visual arts since the late 1960s and studied painting and printmaking in both New York and Washington, D.C.. His flair for art is what perhaps made him such a wonderful stylist—he was able to create works of art with hair.

Novel attended continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York, studying painting and drawing. In 1974, he participated in “Art Now,” a celebration of American arts, at the Kennedy Center.

He had a well-received solo show at Hard Gallery in D.C. in the mid-1970s showing his sculptures and video art. His work was also shown in multiple commercial venues around the nation’s capital, and a lot of his pieces are part of private collections of a number of well-known Washingtonians.

Mallory Tablantino, a friend of Novel, met him in 1976. She calls Novel “a great friend with impeccable taste” and “a true sense of design and beauty.” Novel’s art was balanced and peaceful to Tablantino, and she called his client list impressive.

The Georgetowner will have more information on Robert Novel and run an appreciation in its April issue.



4 comments on “Artist, Stylist Robert Novel Dies”

  • Please send me updates?

  • Madge Novel says:

    Thank you for the article on my husband Robert however, there is information that needs to be corrected as well as left out.

    • Anne Gravely says:

      Dear Madge, I’m so sorry to learn of the passing of your husband Robert, who was more than an excellent hair stylist to me (and fine artist). He was a lovely person — like you. My deepest condolences to you and your family. My apologies for my late response. I’ve been without internet access until recently when I came back onsite at work. (I plan to retire at the end of September.) I hope for whatever comforts you (and your family). Best to you all. Fondly, Anne (Gravely)

  • Zephyrnoid says:

    I’m so saddened by this shocking news! Robert was the quiet, genteel one! He was very kind to me. I’m sure this is a big loss to his family, friends and DC’S beauty business . RIP Monsieur Novelli !

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