Baker, Josephine. (1906–1975) [Mariotti, Mario. (1899–1975)]
Signed Photograph - An Alluring Portrait on a Tiger Skin Rug
Striking vintage doubleweight glossy portrait of Baker posing beside a tiger skin rug, signed and inscribed in French in fountain pen, “à Mr Mario Mariotti / en souvenir de / Josephine Baker / Milano / 1932.” Some losses to edges and a small area at her extended wrist, but the imposing image is largely unaffected and it is otherwise in fine condition. 6.5 x 9.3 inches (16.5 x 23.6 cm.).
Mario Mariotti was a composer, conductor, and songwriter who was director of the orchestra for the Italian division of the Odeon record label.
"World renowned performer, World War II spy, and activist are a few of the titles used to describe Josephine Baker. One of the most successful African American performers in French history, Baker’s career illustrates the ways entertainers can use their platforms to change the world. [After moving to Paris] Baker became one of the most sought-after performers due to her distinct dancing style and unique costumes...When Adolf Hitler and the German army invaded France during World War II, Baker joined the fight against the Nazi regime. She aided French military officials by passing on secrets she heard while performing in front of the enemy...In 1963, she was one of the few women allowed to speak at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Her speech detailed her life as a black woman in the United States and abroad: 'You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad.'" (National Women's History Museum)