Josephine Baker captivates the Jazz Age


Josephine Baker in a flounced dress

 Josephine Baker wearing a flounced dress – 1930




Josephine brings her Va Va Voom to Paris


Josephine Baker was an integral part of the Jazz Age. Her irrepressible charm and panache was embraced immediately by Parisians when she arrived in Paris in 1925 as a 19 yo dancer, during the peak of the French obsession with American Jazz and all things exotic. The promotional tools of the print media, developed successfully in the Art Nouveau era, were ready for a star in the Jazz Age and Josephine delivered in spades with her  joie de vivre. She became the toast of the Paris cabaret clubs and headlined at the famous Folies Bergères known by names as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess” . She was a muse to numerous talented artists and her expressive, comedic, uninhibited performances made her a famous icon of the Jazz Age. Pablo Picasso said that Josephine had the smile to end all smiles.
During the 1950s, Baker frequently returned to the United States to lend support to the Civil Rights Movement, participating in demonstrations and boycotting segregated clubs and concert venues. While looking over the crowd at the 1963 March on Washington, Josephine stated “Salt and pepper. Just what it should be.”
She had to wait until 1973 in the United States before she was accepted for her boundless talent and activism. She was greeted with a standing ovation at the beginning of her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, which reduced her to tears, as she stood six inches deep in the roses that were thrown on the stage.  Josephine Baker became the first black woman to achieve international stardom.

In her humble self assessment –

“I have never been a great artist. I have been a human being that has loved art, which is not the same thing. But I have loved and believed in art and the idea of universal brotherhood so much, that I have put everything I have into them, and I have been blessed.”


 Josephine Baker bust  – Stephanie Farago


Her natural flair for glamour and sophistication and her large collection of exotic animals was one of the contributing factors that made this a recurring theme in the Art Deco arts. She personified the exuberant abandon of the Jazz era and the spontaneous free expression and energy of her charismatic performances had an influence on the proliferation of dynamic, cubist designs in the Jazz Age art. Josephine’s chic, modern, confident style also helped to popularize this style in Art Deco, which she epitomized with her sleek and glamorous outfits. The Jazz Cleopatra, one of her many titles, became an embodiment of the Modernist art movement combining Primitivism, Expressionism and Cubism and her bronzed feminine form was immortalized in many of the bronze figurines created during this era. The great art deco poster designer, Paul Colin, did many amazing posters featuring Josephine with stylized form and cubist geometry.

The Jazz Age, which ran from the end of WW1 to the beginning of the Depression had an art form that was characterised by elongated silhouettes, clean angular lines and blocks of bold colour. Spontaneous movement was depicted with abstract cubist geometric designs and  zig zag lines, which also had an indirect reference to the two zz’s in Jazz.

Art pieces inspired by Josephine Baker and the Jazz Age


Carlton Ware Jazz’ series vase, design by Enoch Boulton

© Terry Wise 2009



Josephine bBaker in satin dress

Josephine Baker



Jazz Age style Vase-aux-poissons -Mougin

 Aux Poissons vase  – Mougin




statuette-en-bronze-josephine-baker holding large fan -a-la-galerie-tramway-dr

Bronze statuette  Josephine Baker




Josephine Baker in one of her outrageous costumes

Josephine Baker





Jazz Age porcelain vase -Morimura Noritake / Green Marks

 Jean-Dunand art deco screenLacquer Screen – Jean Dunand




allthatjazz Jazz Age Vogue cover

Jazz Age Vogue





Art Deco metalwork from the facade of the Chanin Building, NY





Josephine Baker at the Casino de Paris

Photo – Luis Ramon Marin





Royal Art Pottery – Jazz Age Jug

Lillehammer Lane Antique Mall, UK



Bakerfix Hair Care Display-Josephine Baker Bust

Josephine Baker ” Bakerfix” Hair Brilliantine bust





Movie ‘Princesse Tam Tam’ – Josephine Baker





Sahdji,-Aaron-Douglas Art Deco

‘Sahdji’ (Tribal Women) – Aaron Douglas, , 1925

Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.



Josephine Baker cartoon from the german Magazine Ulk (1928)

Josephine Baker cartoon from the German Magazine Ulk – 1928




art-deco vase Edouard Cazaux

Edouard Cazaux, French Art Deco




Art Deco panel – Rene Buthaud




‘Belg La Danse’ – Charles Catteau




Josephine Baker performing in her Monte Carlo show ” The Josephine Baker Story “

 Photo – Jack Garofalo

Getty Images



c-felton flickr Josephine and panther

Josephine and panther figurine – Haeger

c.Felton – flickr




Charles-Catteau-Jazz-Art Deco--vase

Jazz Age vase – Charles Catteau



Czech Art Deco-Karel Palda Geometric-TRI-Color-Enamel-Vase-1930s

Karel Palda – Geometric Czech Art Deco /Jazz Age vase




Dance Magazine Jazz Age cover

“The Dance” magazine Jazz Age cover


Winold-Reiss(1886ー1953)African-Fantasy--The-Awakening c 1925

‘African Fantasy–The Awakening’ – Winold-Reiss(1886ー1953)

c 1925




Sevres-1927.-Made-in-France.-1927.-Height 37cm

Large Sevres Jazz Age baluster vase – 1927, France

Height 37cm




Art Deco sculpture – Erte



Folies-Bergere theatre facade

 Folies Bergere, Paris





Franz Hagenauer Josephne Baker bust

Josephne Baker bust – Franz Hagenauer




 French Josephine Baker brooch




 Trois feminine – Erte





Giuseppe Armani - Statuettes Italy

Giuseppe Armani ceramic figurine





Josephine Baker scultpture by Karl Hagenauer




Jazz-age-cubist josephine baker poster

Cubist Jazz Age Josephine Baker poster




Danseuse aux Boules - Maurice and Marcel Denis, Max Le Verrier - Art Deco dancing woman figurine

Danseuse aux Boules – Maurice and Marcel Denis, Max Le Verrier

1925 –  1937





Josef-HERBE jazz age spherical ceramic vase

Spherical cubist jazz age vase – Josef Herbe




Josephine Baker, c1950 (Studio Harcourt).

Josephine Baker, c1950  Studio Harcourt, Paris




Dancer with borzoi by Abel R. Philippe

Dancer with Borzoi by Abel R. Philippe




Alexander Calder – 1941




Josephine Baker by Studio Harcourt




Josephine-Baker- dancing figure Karl Hagenauer

Bronze figurine of Josephine Baker – Karl Hagenauer





Josephine Baker – Probably a Le Vie Parisienne illustration





Josephine Baker cookie jar by Michael and Shelley Buonaiuto



Art Deco cubist-jazz-age-figures by Primavera

Jazz Age Cubist sculpture figurines by Prrimavera





Pablo GARGALLO-Spain France-1881-1934-'Kiki-de

Kiki – Pablo Gargallo




Art Deco limogues vase

Vase Atelier Art Deco Faure Limoges 1925-1933





Josephine Baker art poster 1935

One of the many movies that Josephine Baker starred in.




Rene-Lalique---Francia---Dancers Plate

Dancers Plate – Rene lalique





contemporary sculpture by Robert Cook-Harlem-1992

‘Harlem’ – Robert Cook






Carlton Ware – ‘Jazz’– vase designed by Enoch Boulton, an expression of the  zeitgeist of the Jazz Age, 1930

© Harvey Pettit 2009



art deco style poster by Robert Hoppe

‘Acquacade’ – Robert Hoppe




Art Deco theatre with Josephine Baker and Louis Armstrong wall panels.

Jazz Age Art deco theatre with Josephine Baker and Louis Armstrong wall panels.

Pollaro Interiors,USA




Charles Catteau jazz age vessel

Charles Catteau




1920s art porcelain from Pickard

Art Deco/Jazz Age jug – Pickard





1927,-Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis.-Décors polychromes-de-motifs géométriques-–-émaux-mats

Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis





Folies Bergere,Paris with josephine Baker on stage

Josephine Baker at the Folies Bergere,Paris




Jamaican hand painted pot

Jamaican Pottery vase

NooRotic- flickr

LUCITE-&-EBONY-Carved-Josephine-Baker brooch

Carved lucite and ebony abstract Josephine Baker brooch.





Josephine Baker billboard  –‘Paris mes amours’, at the Olympia. Paris

On the streets of Sevres, 1959

Roger Viollet – Getty Images

Getty Image 111074049-Josephine Baker with 3 oh her 12 adopted children

Josephine Baker with 3 of her 12 adopted children in 1964

Gamma Rapho – Getty Image 111074049


Joesphine Baker Diva Queen at the Lido in Paris, 1973

Photo by Michel Ginfray, GammaRapho – Getty Image

Niki De Saint Phalle - Josephine Baker sculpture Christies

Josephine Baker sculpture by Niki De Saint Phalle

Cowan Pottery Viktor Schreckengost---Jazz Bowl-An American Art Deco Icon

Jazz Bowl-An American Art Deco Icon designed by Cowan Pottery Viktor Schreckengost for Cowan Pottery





Josephine Baker in the 1935 movie ‘Princesse Tam Tam’




Black Thunder poster – Paul Colin



Josephine-Baker-Giuseppe-Armani realistic figurine

‘Josephine’  statuette – Giuseppe Armani




Art Deco painting with Josephine Baker by Emile Compard





“When You’re Smiling ( the whole world smiles with you )”  – a song off  Dr. John’s new album  “Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch”  and Josephine Baker with her sparkling smile outdazzling her outfits.





Josephine Baker – another elaborate costume




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1 Comment

  1. Stephen
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Nice one Robbie-do you ever sleep mate?Regards Stephen

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