Elsie Houston (Primary Title)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976 (Artist)

Works On Paper
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9 1/8 × 6 15/16 in. (23.18 × 17.62 cm)

The Brazilian mezzo-soprano singer Elsie Houston (1902–1943) was one of the most remarkable and versatile performers of her generation. Houston made her stage debut in Paris in 1927 and subsequently performed in operas and recitals throughout Europe. On April 12, 1929, Houston married the French Surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, with whom she had a son named Geyser. Houston won enduring fame from her popular nightclub act that she perfected in Paris in the early 1930s. Her candlelight performances drew upon the Afro-Brazilian music, myths, religious cults, and folklore of her homeland. Man Ray made this glamorous portrait of Houston wearing a headscarf and jewelry to help launch her career as a nightclub singer.

Photographer stamp in black ink: "Man Ray/ 81^bis, Rue/ Campagne/ Première/ Paris/ XIV". (M#6- check Text Entry notes for stamp details)
Titled in graphite in photographer's hand: "Elsie Houston".
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Man Ray: The Paris Years, VMFA, October 30, 2021 – February 21, 2022

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