Unknown 1920s Broadway Glamour Star - ORIGINAL PRINT

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  • $75.00
  • Regular price $120.00

Date of Printing:       1920s• Medium:      Photograph (B&W) Silver Platinum Print• Subject Category:  Collectibles    • Signed:             Photographer's Stamp on Verso   Period • Created:     Modern (1900 - 1950)         • Plate Size HxWxD cm:     24.3 x 19       • Leaf Paper Size HxW cm: 25.5 x 20.2    • Style:           Original Vintage       • Print on Verso:      Photographer's stamp on verso    • Condition:      Excellent, pin marks on all corners        • Edition Type:          Original Print• Paper Type:            Baryt, Archival Quality         • Framed:       Unframed

We are proud to be able to present an ORIGINAL 8x10" Broadway glamour portrait by John DeMirjian.Unknown star, but shot in classic soft-focus technique. Printed on thick baryt paper.Excellent condition, though there are three pin marks on each of the four corners.Photographer's own stamp appears on the verso. Embossed with DeMirjian's logo on lower right.One of our rare 1920s glamour shots -- a true rarity. These shots go for thousands of dollars in auction houses these days, snapped up by collectors.

John DeMirjian worked from 1922 to 1928 at 1595 Broadway in New York."This Broadway glamour photographer's short but brilliant heyday lasted six years, from 1922 until his death in a speeding roadster alongside a mysterious woman in 1928. An extravagant personality given to gambling and womanizing, de Mirjian brooked no criticism of his taste or resistance to his desire, throwing temper tantrums during photo shoots if sitters failed to follow his directions. In February 1927, Olga, his wife of a little over one year, sued for divorce, citing repeated physical abuse and being forced to labor at her husband’s studio around the clock. In her court testimony she revealed that the photographer cleared $25,000 annually, making his one of the most lucrative studios in the city.

One reason for his financial success was his arrangement with Earl Carroll, impresario of "The Vanities," to photograph publicity for his revue, a show that pushed the envelope in the theatrical display of female flesh. In 1925 de Mirjian became a photographic celebrity when actress Louise Brooks sued to stop his distribution of risque photos taken of her in 1923. Brooks in the court claimed that a nude shoot was the publicity price every girl new to Broadway must pay. De Mirjian testified, "Have I not photographed a thousand others wearing maybe a shoe, maybe a hat, maybe a shawl. . . and not only the girls of the shows but the women of society as well."

The bulk of de Mijian's risque photography appeared in two magazines of the mid-1920s: Art Lovers and Artists and Models. Modeled on Edwin Bower Hesser's successful Arts Monthly Pictorial begun in 1922, these soft paper monthlies featured shots of semi-nude showgirls in artistic poses. In 1925 de Mirjian was supplying imagery for both magazines. It is interesting to observe that the Schubert Brothers, who sponsored the annual "Artists and Models" girlie revues on Broadway were rivals of Earl Carroll, de Mirjian's principle employer. Yet their appreciation of de Mirjian's mastery of drape shots and nudes overrode their disinclination to patronize an artist in the hire of a rival. Besides showgirls in drapes and society women in stylish dishabille, de Mirjian had a particular talent for "two-shots," portraits showing the interaction, usually romantic, of two persons.
His career ended spectacularly on September 24, 1928, when his Peerless roadster careened off the Jericho Turnpike, running the length of Long Island, going 70 miles an hour. His passenger, a married actress, Mrs. Gloria Christy, survived and told authorities she was his half-sister. She was not.

For such a temperamental figure, de Mirjian's visual style is strikingly free of shadow. He based his vocabulary of poses on that of Alfred Cheney Johnston and, like Johnston, specialized in the portraiture of women. De Mirjian's showgirl pictures are flooded with light.His portraits, male and female, dramatize personality. He liked extravagant dress and sitters with a daring spirit, so his photographs are among the most striking visually of the 1920s. He did occasional production photography, usually of the revues. His more risque imagery--showgirl nudes and draped model photos--were staples of the underground sex magazines of the period. Next to Hollywood photographer E. B. Hesser, he was the most widely published celebrant of celebrity flesh of the jazz age." -- From STILL, David S. Shields