Paris in the nineteen-twenties and early nineteen-thirties provided an opportunity for Black artists, often African-Americans, to perform for non-Black audiences. This phenomenon is related to a persistent European colonial interest in Africa generally and a modernist interest in African Art specifically which, through European colonialism, had been making its way into European museums and artist’s collections for years. In North America, at this period, "black" performers for white audiences were almost always whites wearing "black-face" within the context of Minstrel shows. Al Jolson was one of the most striking examples. Despite what to twenty-first century eyes might appear as blatant stereotyping, Paul Colin’s Le tumult noir (Paris ca. 1930) was intended as a celebration of the Black artists – of their style, elegance, beauty and exoticism – who were part of Josephine Baker's La Revue Nègre that opened at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1925. However, Colin's representation of black bodies was obviously informed by this problematic minstrel tradition which largely relied upon stereotypes of blackness derived from Trans Atlantic Slavery. Nevertheless, these lithographs by Baker's one-time lover, Paul Colin, are also undeniably alive with the energy and excitement of the twenties. Baker herself was the sensation of the period, a transcendent symbol of beauty, athleticism, talent and her introduction of the Charleston to Parisian audiences marked the beginning of the Jazz Age.

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