DescriptionRAPHAEL KIRCHNER (American 1867 - 1917)
Fanny Brice: Ziegfeld Follies Century Girl, 1916
Pastel and graphite and opaque paint on paper
24 x 18 in.
Signed lower right
Raphael Kirchner was born in Vienna, Austria and along with Alphonse Mucha, was one of the most renowned Art Nouveau postcard artists of the Vienna Secessionist movement. The visionary artist later moved to France and worked as the cover artist for the wildly popular La Vie Parisienne. His radically risque portraits of sexually emancipated women were dubbed "Kirchner Girls."
Kirchner moved to New York City in 1915, and was introduced to Florence Ziegfeld by Viennese architect Josef Urban, the man responsible for the ornate Follies sets and design. Ziegfeld, always an innovator, hired Kirchner as a staff artist.
This pastel is a newly unearthed piece of New York City theatre history, a once-in-a generation find. Originally part of a suite of five illustrations which featured the erotic and luminous showgirls who starred in the legendary theatre revue Ziegfeld Follies, this portrait of Fanny Brice hung in the lobby of the historic Century Theatre until that famed show palace shut its doors in 1936.
Few examples of Kirchner's work for Ziegfeld have come to market, and a find of this magnitude has never before been offered at auction. In historical significance, provenance, and quality the wonderful piece is unsurpassed.
The plaque on the period frame for this piece reads "A Ziegfeld Girl from life by Raphael Kirchner."
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