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By Nina J P Evans

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) embodied the Jazz age of the 1920s. “An international star of sensational, exotic cabarets including La Revue Nègre, and the infamous Folies Bergère in Paris and Berlin.”

She was also well-known for wearing the most infamous costumes revealing her exotic beauty. As a muse of F. Scott Fitzgerald, she inspired the character of Daisy Buchanan’s long-time friend Jorden Baker in the novel The Great Gatsby. Like the fictional character she may have played golf; however, I think her career was more focused on dance and performance, she certainly reached celebrity status in Europe. Though not in America her home country, until much later. Her bio says, “Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars, and she received approximately 1,500 marriage proposals.” As well as Chiquita, the cheetah that encapsulated her persona; half exotic, untamed creature, of sophistication and poise; probably very useful with fending off all those potential suitors.

Paul Colin Plate 37 from Le Tumulte Noir,1927
Josephine Baker in Paris qui remue, 1930, Paris
Stage sets from Josephine Baker’s performances
Studio Piaz, Paris, Josephine Baker with her Leopard, 1930-32
La Joie de Paris, 1932-33
Josephine Baker on the cover of AZ Magazine, October 1933
unknown photographer, 1936 National Portrait Gallery, London
At the Casino of Paris in 1939

Costume Design for Josephine Baker, 1950s Courtesy of the Jean-Claude Baker Foundation
Josephine Baker in Havana, Cuba, 1951

references
V&A
The official site of Josephine Baker

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