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Gypsy Rose Lee and Her Girls
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Status undetermined

Ralph Steiner
American, Bronx, New York, 1944
Gelatin silver print
10 7/16 x 13 5/16 in.
84.XP.453.8

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In addition to recording dances for posterity, photographs extended the celebrity of individual dancers. The famous burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee was especially aware of photography's value as a public relations tool. A friend of Ralph Steiner's, Lee commissioned him to make this photograph as part of a series of publicity shots.

On a rural road in the Bronx, Lee posed wearing a shimmering, sequined gown and fur, flanked by a Rolls Royce and Louis Vuitton luggage and surrounded by her spectacularly costumed "girls." Lee's elegant presentation gives no hint that her costume weighed over seventy pounds or that the day was hot and her makeup took two hours to apply.