[Portrait of Josephine Baker]

Object Details

Title:

[Portrait of Josephine Baker]

Artist/Maker(s):

Baron Adolf De Meyer (American, born France, 1868 - 1946)

Culture:

American

Place(s):

New York, New York, United States (Place created)

Date:

1925

Medium:

Collotype

Dimensions:

39.1 x 39.7 cm (15 3/8 x 15 5/8 in.)

Copyright:

Status undetermined

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In 1925 Josephine Baker, an American dancer from Saint Louis, Missouri, made her debut on the Paris stage in La Revue nègre (The Black Review) at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, wearing nothing more than a skirt of feathers and performing her danse sauvage (savage dance). She was an immediate sensation in Jazz-Age France, which celebrated her perceived exoticism, quite the opposite of the reception she had received dancing in American choruses. American expatriate novelist Ernest Hemingway called Baker "the most sensational woman anybody ever saw–or ever will."

Baron Adolf de Meyer, a society and fashion photographer, took this playful portrait in the year of Baker's debut. Given the highly sexual nature of her stage persona, this portrait is charming and almost innocent; Baker's personality is suggested by her face rather than her famous body.

Exhibitions
Photographs from the Sam Wagstaff Collection (November 15, 1985 to January 11, 1986)
  • The Photographers' Gallery, (London), November 15, 1985 to January 11, 1986, (Cat.)
The Art of Photography: 1839 - 1989 (February 11 to December 23, 1989)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 11 to April 30, 1989, (Cat.)
  • National Gallery of Australia, (Canberra), June 1 to August 1, 1989, (Cat.)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), September 23 to December 23, 1989, (Cat.)
Fame and Photography (March 9 to May 23, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), March 9 to May 23, 1993, (Cat.)
De Meyer (December 10, 1994 to February 12, 1995)
  • International Center of Photography, (New York), December 10, 1994 to February 12, 1995, (Cat.)
Josephine Baker: Image and Icon (April 22 to August 26, 2006)
  • Sheldon Art Galleries, (Saint Louis), April 22 to August 26, 2006, (Cat.)
Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity (April 3 to September 2, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 3 to September 2, 2012, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Sotheby's (Firm). The Collection of Baron de Meyer (New York, 1980) lot #116.

Hargraves, Michael. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Photographs (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999) p. 75.

Related Media
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    Audio: Josephine Baker (Exhibit: FAME & PHOTO)