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'Portrait of Josephine Baker' by Unknown Artist (c. 1950s)

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'Portrait of Josephine Baker', pastel on paper, by Unknown Artist (c. 1950s). This work of art was discovered in the South of France and is an homage to iconic French performer, Josephine Baker. The artist has taken a well known image of the entertainer and injected elements of cubism in this sensitive treatment of the subject. Ms. Baker was known for her risqué performances and this reclining nude portrait is entirely in keeping with her persona. The subtle pastel hues however, belie the colourful personality and incredible strength of the subject. Her life was a marvel. This portrait keeps her memory alive. In original frame with linen mount in excellent vintage condition.

About the subject: Josephine Baker (1906 - 1975), born in St. Louis, Missouri, was an entertainer, civil rights activist, and French Resistance agent. Her career centred primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. Her performance in the revue Un Vent de Folie in 1927 caused a sensation. Her costume, consisting of only a girdle of bananas, became her most iconic image.

Ms. Baker renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a French national. She raised her children in France. Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights movement. She was also known for aiding the French Resistance during WWII. After the war, she was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French military and was named a Chevalier of the Lègion d'Honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. 

Dimensions with frame:

H  42 cm

W  47 cm

Dimensions without frame:

H  22 cm

W  27.5 cm