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Josephine Baker

1 of 2 portraits of Josephine Baker

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Josephine Baker

by Murray Korman
vintage bromide print, 1936
10 in. x 7 7/8 in. (253 mm x 200 mm) overall
Bequeathed by Patrick O'Connor, 2010
Photographs Collection
NPG x135816

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Events of 1936back to top

Current affairs

Following the death of his father George V, Edward succeeds to the throne as King Edward VIII, but chooses to abdicate in order to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Edward was the only monarch every to voluntarily relinquish the throne.

Art and science

The Spitfire, designed by Reginald Mitchell, has its maiden flight. The RAF and other allied forces used the plane extensively and to great effect during the Second World War.
Television broadcasting begins. Although the BBC had been transmitting television since 1930, regular service did not begin until 1936, when the 'BBC Television Service' (now BBC One) was broadcast from Alexandra Palace.

International

The Spanish Civil War begins. Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, and supported by Italian and German fascist governments, rebelled against the Second Spanish Republic. The conflict lasted until 1939, and anticipated many of the features of the Second World War: fighting between Communists and Fascists, the rise of nationalism and the use of terror tactics against civilians.

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Andrew Batt

02 January 2017, 12:34

This portrait of Josephine Baker, is also by Murray Korman who took the other one in your collection. The photo session dates from 1936 and was taken in New York to promote Bakers appearance in the Ziegfeld Follies - the first and last black star ever to do so. Josephine appeared in three segments, dancing and then singing. This photo illustrates the third segment of her appearance where she performed the song “Five a.m.” by Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin and was choreographed by Georges Balanchine. The outfits were designed by Vincent Minelli, and this dress was gold in colour. Baker is depicted here with her dancers in the “Five a.m.” segment. (ref p100 Josephine Baker, by Hammond & O’Connor 1988 and p168 Jazz Cleopatra by Phyllis Rose). A similar shot from this shoot of Baker wearing the same outfit was auctioned recently on artnet and is clearly signed by Murray Korman http://www.artnet.com/artists/murray-korman/joséphine-baker-1906-1975-4-works-XnEGdEcx9_GjKle25Kan9Q2
You can also see the same background in Murray Korman’s portrait of Bakers appearance in her first segment at the Ziegfeld Follies wearing the well known silver spike outfit here: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/46/87/bd/4687bd522f90254281dc1357affc8508.jpg ref p138-139 Josephine Baker, by Hammond & O’Connor 1988.

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