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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FOLEY & BURK SHOWS: c. 1940s

Dressed to Smoke

Dressed to Smoke

This mystery woman came from a small metal box of slides I found in a thrift store; they all appear to have been professionally done. There are various index tabs in the tray that may or may not be the names of the photographers who took the photos but other than that no idea what this is about. She is very elegant except for the 3-pack-a-day look around the eyes. View full size.

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Shoulders

The door-frame shoulder pads in her suit jacket say 1939-1940, and her see-through silk blouse is unusually confident and very urban.

Diane Arbus-y

I can definitely see the the resemblance to her work, this could almost be a before shot.

Nancy Kulp, is that you?

I immediately thought of a slightly younger version of the Jane Hathaway character on the Beverly Hillbillies. Given the likely time and place of this photo, that's not out of the question, I think?

Perhaps an attempt to recreate a painting?

This instantly reminded me of portrait of the journalist Sylvia von Harden, by Otto Dix

Her ring

looks like a family crest ring, but usually worn on the little finger left hand.

I bet she's wearing pants

Very androgynous looking woman and very striking. Almost no makeup, severe hair style, neatly trimmed nails and sparse jewelry except for the pink reindeer, no doubt a nod to the holiday season. I wouldn't be surprised if she was from NYC and had something to with fine art, was an author or playwright?

Or maybe Joe DiMaggio's sister?!

Diane Arbus-y

The woman, the cigarette, the cynicism . . . it's good to see Diane Arbus wasn't the only one taking such photos. Her playful brooch contrasts with her world-weary demeanor.

Reindeer Brooch

It looks as though this could have been Christmas judging by the pink reindeer brooch.

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