L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Jupiter Disguised as Diana Seducing Callisto, by Gerrit van Honthorst, circa 1625-1650.

I have a blog-post folder and several sub-folders on my computer. As I flounce about the internet, whenever I find an image, anything I find beautiful or intriguing, I copy it - if I can - and toss it into one of my blog-related folders. Perhaps you can guess where this acquisitiveness has led me. The folders are now very full. So full that I have ever more difficulty finding, sorting things. Difficulty seeing the visual or thematic threads that I would gather together to make up a post. So, along with better organizing - yet more sub-folders - from now on, every so often I'll try and do a bit of theme-less, story-less sharing. These, then, are some images I really enjoy. That is all!

The Marriage of Napoléon I and Marie Louise, 2 April 1810, by Georges Rouget, 1811.
Miniature by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, circa late 1780s.
Photograph identified as being taken in Tokyo during the Thirties.
Mirza Abu'l Hassan Khan, Ambassador for the Shah of Persia, by William Beechey, 1809 or 1810.
Portrait of a Young Woman, by Giovanni Battista Moroni, circa 1560s-70s.
Irina Alexandrovna, Princess Yusupova, by Edward Steichen, 1924.
Lydia Pickering Williams, by Gilbert Stuart, 1824.
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, Catalina, 1939.
Elisabeth Farnese, Princess of Parma and Queen of Spain, by Jean Ranc, 1723.
The Surprise, by Claude-Marie Dubufe, before 1827.
The Guitarist, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1757.
Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, by William Beechey, 1818.
Michèle Morgan, circa 1941.
Jean-Louis Buisson-Boissier, by Jean-Étienne Liotard, circa 1762-66.
Carolina Grassi and Bianca Bignami, the sisters Gabrini, by Francesco Hayez,1835.
St. Petersburg (?), circa prior to 1914.
Louis-Philippe Refuses the Crown of Belgium, 17 February 1831, by Nicolas Gosse, 1836.
Miniature by Louis-Lié Périn-Salbreux, circa 1790s.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dancing until the lights go out - The Sisters G, circa 1928 to 1933

Publicity photograph for "God's Gift to Women", 1931.

During the Twenties and nudging a little ways into the Thirties there was a vogue for sister/twin dancing/singing/showgirl duos. Usually lavishly costumed and quite often sporting the dark, shellacked bob we've come to identify, almost exclusively, with Louise Brooks. Of course the legendary Hungarian-American identical twin Dolly Sisters were the first and most famous; they hit the Ziegfeld stage in 1911 at the age of eighteen. Their enormous popularity on both continents ensured that there would be similar acts joyfully following in their footsteps: the Pearl Twins, the Dodge Sisters, the Fairbanks Twins, even the Norwegian brothers who performed an outright impersonation of Rosie and Jenny Dolly and went by the name of the Rocky Twins. (With so may pairs of performers working the same look, when looking for images, it can be tough to tell one from the other.) Perhaps the best known "followers" of the twin Hungarians were Karla and Eleanor Gutöhrlein, who performed as the Sisters G. Beginning as teenagers, they danced across the stages of Europe, gave a go at Hollywood, and vanished from the spotlight forever aged only twenty-three and twenty-four.

Photograph by Achille Volpé.

Eleanor Gutöhrlein, née Knospe (18 August 1909 - 7 June 1997, Vasa) and Karola (Karla) Gutöhrlein, née Knospe (9 September 1910 - circa 2000) were born in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Their parents divorced and Gutöhrlein was the surname of their mother's third husband. From the beginning managed by their mother Margarete, at first they performed as a trio with their older sister Inez. But when Inez married they became a duo, claiming to be twins. While still in their teens, they performed successfully all over Europe. Late in 1929 Carl Laemmle brought them to Hollywood, where they made one "short" and appeared in four feature films in 1930 and 1931: King of Jazz, Recaptured Love, Kiss Me Again, and God's Gift to Women. With rapidly changing tastes in film during the period, musicals were suddenly out, and their lavish dance number in the last film was cut. With it, so too went the Gutöhrlein's Hollywood career. Not long after, they returned to Europe. Being a quarter Jewish, they only made a brief return to Germany before settling in Sweden. Karla married there in 1936 and had a daughter four years later. (It's possible she had a second child; the information conflicts.) She remarried in 1946. Eleanor married a bank director in 1938. The last reference I can find for them performing together appears to be at Liseberg Park in Gothenburg in 1942. Eleanor died in Sweden at the age of eighty-seven; Karla is said to have passed away "a few years later."

Many of the following photographs are the work of Madame d'Ora (Paris/Vienna) and Atelier Manassé (Vienna).
Photograph by Dorothy Wilding.
From a photo-essay published in "Modern Screen", June 1930.
Seen in the image on the left is the same dress worn in the Dorothy Wilding portrait shown above.
Their first film, "The King of Jazz", is an all-color - two-strip Technicolor - musical revue, starring popular bandleader Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
The Sisters G are not included in the credits at the beginning of the film, but are featured in three musical numbers.
With Paul Whiteman.
In costume for "Kiss Me Again".  Like "King of Jazz", this film was originally shot in two-strip Technicolor.
Rehearsing for "Kiss Me Again" with dance instructor Larry Ceballos.
Two screen-shots from "God's Gift to Women", with (just visible at left) Louise Brooks, Frank Fay, and Joan Blondell.
Ironically, Louise Brooks - at far left - is sans her famous bangs; the Sisters G are more "Brooks" than Brooks.
With Frank Fay.
Karla Gutöhrlein in publicity for "God's Gift to Women".
Three photographs by Achille Volpé, the first two with an unknown partner, possibly Demetrios Vilan. 
After their return to Germany, circa 1933.
Two portraits by Elmer Fryer. Here, Eleanor (?)
Karla (?)