Josephine Baker dress features in historic Casino de Paris auction



2015-06-26 11:07:05

Josephine Baker dress features in historic Casino de Paris auction

A collection of treasured memorabilia from one of Paris’ most famous music halls will cross the auction block later this month.

The private collection of more than 5,000 items documents the story of the Casino de Paris – a venue dating back to the 18th century which attracted some of the most famous French performers including Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett.

Originally constructed in the 1730s by the Duc de Richelieu, the location was used for a variety of performances, firework displays and even wrestling before being converted into a cinema and music hall in 1914.

The collection featured a wide range of items from the venue’s 20th century history including stunning costumes, documents, photographs and memorabilia.

Highlighting the sale will be a dress worn by the legendary stage and screen star Josephine Baker – one of the first female African-American performers to achieve fame on an international scale.

Known as the ‘Bronze Venus’, the American-born Baker moved to Paris during the 1920s and starred at the world-famous Folies Bergère (often appearing on stage with a pet cheetah Chiquita). After starring in several feature films, she went on the aid the French Resistance during World War II and became an important supporter of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.

The dress was worn by Baker during her final performance in 1975, at a retrospective revue of her career, and is expected to sell for up to €6,000. The show received superb reviews, but just four days later Baker slipped in to a coma and died on April 12 - becoming the first American-born woman to receive full French military honours at her funeral.

The two-day sale will also feature a collection of elaborate costumes from the modern-day revues; original costume designs and sketches from the 1920 onwards by designers including Freddy Wittop and Erté; memorabilia including one of Maurice Chevalier’s iconic stage-worn straw boater hats and archives relating to the iconic female entertainer Mistinguett; and original photographs of stage sets and performances.

The sale is set to take place at the Arts Talents Encheres auction house in Paris on January 26-27.


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