Vintage Photos of Russian Prima Ballerina Alexandra Danilova

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova (1903 – 1997) was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born in Peterhof, Russia on November 20, 1903, she trained at the Russian Imperial Ballet School in Leningrad (formerly and currently St. Petersburg). She was one of the few Russian-trained ballerinas to tour outside Russia. Her first professional post was as a member of St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet.

In 1924, she and George Balanchine left Russia. They were soon picked up by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; Danilova as a dancer, Balanchine as a choreographer. Danilova toured for years with the Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev, then with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev’s death.[1] With the latter company, Danilova andFrederic Franklin created one of the legendary ballet partnerships of the twentieth century. Danilova became known for her glamour and beautiful legs, as well as her work ethic and professionalism.

Danilova made her Broadway debut in 1944’s Song of Norway; her last ballet performance was in 1957.

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Alexandra Danilova photographed by George Platt Lynes, c. 1930s

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 Alexandra Danilova as a star of Colonel de Basil’s Ballet Russe  (1936)  by Maurice Seymour.

Courtesy of Ronald Seymour/Maurice Seymour Archive.

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Alexandra Danilova in Ballet Russe’s Nutcracker

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F. Franklin and Alexandra Danilova (1948) by Irving Penn.

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The Legs of Danilova, New York (1950) by Erwin Blumenfeld

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Alexandra Danilova dances in Gaite Parisienne

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Vintage Photos of Bloomsbury Clique Society Hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell

Lady Ottoline Violet Anne Morrell (1873 – 1938) was an English aristocrat and society hostess. She was part of the literary Bloomsbury clique, along with Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, Lytton Strachey, Clive and Vanessa Bell, E.M. Forster and more.

Perhaps Lady Ottoline’s most interesting literary legacy is the wealth of representations of her that appear in 20th-century literature. She was the inspiration for Mrs Bidlake in Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point, for Hermione Roddice in D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, for Lady Caroline Bury in Graham Greene’s It’s a Battlefield, and for Lady Sybilline Quarrell in Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On. The Coming Back (1933), another novel which portrays her, was written by Constance Malleson, one of Ottoline’s many rivals for the affection of Bertrand Russell. Some critics consider her the inspiration for Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley. Huxley’s roman à clef, Crome Yellow depicts the life at a thinly-veiled Garsington, one of her estates.

Non-literary portraits are also part of this interesting legacy, for example, as seen in the artistic photographs of her by Cecil Beaton. There are portraits by Henry Lamb, Duncan Grant, Augustus John, and others. Carolyn Heilbrun edited Lady Ottoline’s Album (1976), a collection of snapshots and portraits of Morrell and of her famous contemporaries, mostly taken by Morrell herself.

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Portrait of Lady Ottoline Morrell by George Charles Beresford, 4 June 1903

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Lady Ottoline Morrell by Cavendish Morton

platinum print, 1905

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Portrait of Lady Ottoline Morrell by Adolf de Meyer, c. 1912

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Lady Ottoline Morrell by Baron Adolph de Meyer
platinum print, 1912

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Lady Ottoline Morrell, by Cecil Beaton (1927)

© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London

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Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1929.

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Lady Ottoline Morrell in her bedroom at Amerongen, 1925.

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Wallis Simpson in the Lobster Dress

During the 1930s, Wallis Simpson was a frequent subject of Cecil Beaton’s photographs.

Shortly before Wallis’s marriage to the Duke of Windsor in May 1937, Cecil Beaton was asked to take some official photographs of the bride-to-be at the Château de Candé, where she was staying as a guest of Charles Bedeaux.

Since many of the past photographs of Simpson were unflattering, Beaton had a bright idea and suggested more romantic-looking pictures, including an image of her standing in the château’s garden wearing the Schiaparelli Lobster dress. The infamous lobster dress was a design collaboration with Salvador Dalí that grew out of the lobsters that started appearing in the artist’s work in 1934.

Beaton took almost a hundred photographs during the session with Simpson, and Vogue devoted an eight-page spread to the results (source).

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 Wallis Simpson in the infamous Schiaparelli dress decorated in the Dali lobster print

by Cecil Beaton (1937)

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 Wallis Simpson in the infamous Schiaparelli dress decorated in the Dali lobster print

by Cecil Beaton (1937)

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Lee Miller By Man Ray

Lee Miller (1907 – 977) was an American photographer. She is one of the most remarkable female icons of the 20th century – an individual admired as much for her free-spirit, creativity and intelligence as for her classical beauty (source).

In 1929, Miller traveled to Paris with the intention of apprenticing herself to the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray. Although, at first, he insisted that he did not take students, Miller soon became his model and co-collaborator, as well as his lover and muse. While she was in Paris, she began her own photographic studio, often taking over Man Ray’s fashion assignments to enable him to concentrate on his painting. In fact, many of the photographs taken during this period and credited to Man Ray were actually taken by Miller. Together with Man Ray, she rediscovered the photographic technique of solarisation. She was an active participant in the surrealist movement, with her witty and humorous images. Amongst her circle of friends were Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard, and Jean Cocteau (she appeared as a statue that comes to life in Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet (1930)).

After leaving Man Ray and Paris in 1932, she returned to New York and established a portrait and commercial photography studio with her brother Erik as her darkroom assistant

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Lee Miller by Man Ray, Solarisation (1931)

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Lee Miller [hand] by Man Ray (1929)

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Lee Miller’s neck; Man Ray’s Neck.

2010 MAN RAY TRUST/ARS. COURTESY OF THE PENROSE COLLECTION

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Lee Miller by Man Ray

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Lee Miller (by dovima_is_devine_II)

Swedish Photographer Georg Oddner

Georg Mirskij Oddner (1923 – 2007) was one of Swedens greatest photographers from the 20th century.

Oddner was a jazz musician and studying advertising in the 1940s when he first came into contact with photography through John Melin, art director at Svenska Telegrambyrån in Malmö, the largest advertising agency in Scandinavia. From there, Oddner began working a variety of advertising jobs, including industry, architecture, and clothing, as well as for SAS.

In the mid-1950s Oddner traveled to California, South America, the Soviet Union, and the far east. During these travels he was able to pursue photography for his own purposes. He predominantly used Hasselblad and Leica equipment.

His favorite photographers included Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon.

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Anita Ekberg by Georg Oddner (1951)

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Georg Oddner Paris (1952)

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Georg Oddner

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Georg Oddner

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Georg Oddner

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Theda Bara in Madame Du Barry (1917)

Madame Du Barry is a 1917 American silent historical drama film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Theda Bara as Jeanne Vaubernier. The film is based on the French novel Memoirs d’un médecin by Alexandre Dumas.

The film is now considered a lost film. Many of Theda Bara’s films were destroyed in a 1937 Fox Studios vault fire.

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Theda Bara as Jeanne Vaubernier (1917)

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Theda Bara as Jeanne Vaubernier (1917)

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Theda Bara as Jeanne Vaubernier (1917)

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Theda Bara as Jeanne Vaubernier (1917)

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Dancer Enrica Soma by Philippe Halsman

Enrica Soma (1929 – 1969) was an Italian-American socialite, model, and prima-ballerina. She was also the wife of director John Huston and mother of actress Anjelica Huston.

Soma was pushed into the entertainment industry by her father, using his connections he had gained through his restaurant. She studied ballet with George Balanchine and joined his company as a principal dancer. As a model, she appeared on the June 9, 1947 cover of Life Magazine at the age of 18. She worked often with Philippe Halsman. 

She was offered a film contract by David O. Selznick, but turned down becoming an actress once she met Huston.

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma as a rococo courtesan

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma 1947

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma 1949

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