"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lena Horne

This lithograph poster of Lena Horne – The Bronze Venus, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
 “Lena Horne blazed a trail for African American entertainers, overcoming racial prejudice to achieve main­stream popularity as a singer and actor. Starting out as a sixteen-year-old dancer at Harlem's Cotton Club, she was soon fascinating Manhattan nightclub audiences with her expressive voice. In 1942 Metro­Goldwin-Mayer offered Horne a long-term movie contract a virtually unprecedented achievement for a woman of color at that time. This poster advertises the re-release of a film Horne made in 1938, retitled The Bronze Venus to call attention to the rising star's beauty as well as her skin color. A passionate civil rights activist, Horne refused to accept roles that reinforced negative racial stereotypes, and she abandoned Hollywood in the mid-1950s to focus on live performance and recording. Her one-woman Broadway show garnered Tony and Grammy awards in 1981, and she received a second Grammy in 1996.” – National Portrait Gallery

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