“SHE GLEAMS AT US LIKE A MODERN PORCELAIN DOLL”: LARGE GELATIN SILVER PRINT OF HEAD OF A DANCER, SIGNED BY JACOBI
JACOBI, Lotte. Photograph signed. Head of a Dancer. No place, circa 1970. Gelatin silver print (measures 11 by 14 inches), signed on print recto. Matted and framed, entire piece measures 17 by 19 inches.
Large gelatin silver print of Jacobi’s famous 1929 portrait of dancer Niura Norskaya, a “powerful and classic example” of that artistry that ranks Jacobi “among the foremost portrait photographers” (Otto Steinert), this 11 by 14-inch print signed by Jacobi in her customary penciled hand on the lower corner.
“Berlin in the 20s was a dazzling cultural capital… The brilliance of this world is reflected in Lotte Jacobi’s photographs” (Fasanelli, Lotte Jacobi). At this time Berlin “was the center of modern dance, and Jacobi photographed many of the city’s most acclaimed dancers” (Sundstrom, 8). “Her dance photographs are beautifully free responses to light, movement and form. Niura Norskaya was dancing with Anna Pavlova at the time her picture, often titled The Head of a Dancer, was taken. The sweeping curves of an oversized black hat contrast with Norskaya’s bright, simplified features. She gleams at us like a modern porcelain doll” (Moriarty, 10-11). One of Jacobi’s most famous images, this striking 11 by 14-inch gelatin silver print, signed by her, “is a powerful and classic example” of those elements in her portraiture where “design is up-front” (Wise, 8), and further reveals that “clear perception of the essence of humanity [which] has brought to her the just honor of being ranked among the foremost portrait photographers” (Steinert, Portfolio I). Norskaya photographed by Jacobi circa 1929; print date circa 1970. Many of Jacobi’s prints “have no vintage counterparts” (White, 5n), in that she was forced to flee Germany in the early 1930s and “leave behind more than 90 percent of her archives, all of which the Nazis destroyed” (New York Times). See Moriarty, 23; White 139; Wise, 135. From the estate of Lotte Jacobi. With penciled notation “#21” on print verso.
A fine signed print.