Sunday, 9 October 2011

Lulu in Hollywood

Louise Brooks by E.R. Richee Modern platinum print from the original negative, 1929.
"A well dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world."
Louise Brooks
Eugene Robert Richee, Paramount’s then head of portrait studio, took the picture above, and in doing so created an Art Deco icon and a style sensation. Women of the 1920s queued up to get their hair cut in Miss Brooks' classic "flapper" style, and the image influenced such disparate later stars as Liza Minnelli and Siouxsie Sioux.

As one reviewer puts it: "The porcelain-like complexion and white necklace against the pitch-black surroundings create a striking composition and image of the silent film star. This simplicity beautifully captures the spirit of the 1920s and reflects the eccentric character of the American actress."

Miss Brooks certainly was an outspoken and interesting character in her day:
"Love is a publicity stunt, and making love - after the first curious raptures - is only another petulant way to pass the time waiting for the studio to call.

When I am dead, I believe that film writers will fasten on the story that I am a lesbian... I have done lots to make it believable. All my women friends have been lesbians. But that is one point upon which I agree positively with Christopher Isherwood: There is no such thing as bisexuality. Ordinary people, although they may accommodate themselves for reason of whoring or marriage, are one-sexed. Out of curiosity, I had two affairs with girls – they did nothing for me."

Louise Brooks
The photograph is one of the most magnificent on display at the Glamour of the Gods exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery until 23rd October 2011.

The Allure of Louise Brooks

Miss Brooks' biography Lulu in Hollywood


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