André Kertész - Satiric Dancer, Paris
Satiric Dancer, Paris
Gelatin silver print, printed 1970s. 24.7 x 19.7 cm (25.3 x 20.3 cm). Signed and dated in pencil on the verso.
Like no other photograph, Satiric Dancer embodies the cliché of the dazzling life of the Parisian bohemians of the interwar period. Paris was the centre of the avant-garde par excellence, the place where a dense network of friendships and connections between writers, painters, sculptors and photographers of different nationalities had formed like nowhere else. André Kertész, who came to Paris in 1925, quickly forged connections with these artistic circles, to which many of his Hungarian compatriots belonged.
The photograph shows the Hungarian cabaret dancer Magda Förstner in the studio of the Hungarian sculptor István (Etienne) Beöthy, who, like Kertész, had come to Paris a year earlier. In her short dress of black satin with an extravagant ruff and high-heeled shoes, the dancer stages herself in a playful and exalted pose on a damaged sofa in a corner of the artist's studio. Next to her, on a pedestal, stands the modernist marble sculpture of a male torso by Beöthy, whose mannerist twist the dancer copies in a grotesquely exaggerated way. Her marble-like white limbs are twisted and protrude into the space exactly like the acute-angled arm stumps of the sculpture. The whole scenery appears somewhat “crazy”, an impression that is underlined by the woman's gaze and her mouth, opened as if in ecstasy. Kertész photograph of the Satiric Dancer, which looks like an anticipation of his 1933 series of distortions, is a masterpiece of surrealist photography.
Private collection, USA
Anne Hoy (ed.), Kertész on Kertész. A Self-Portrait, London 1985, ill. p. 55; André Kertész. 1894-1985, exhib.cat. Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, Linz 1986, ill. p. 37 and ill. on front cover; Sandra S. Phillips et al. (Hg.), André Kertész. Of Paris and New York, exhib.cat. The Art Institute of Chicago i.a., London 1985, ill. p. 139 (cat. 25); Pierre Borhan, André Kertész. His Life and his Work, Boston i.a. 1995, ill. p. 145; Sarah Greenough et al. (ed.), André Kertész, exhib.cat National Gallery of Art, Washington i.a., Princeton 2005, plate 47.; Noël Bourcier, André Kertész, London 2006, ill. pp. 12