Monday, September 3, 2012

Man Ray, Lee Miller, William S. Paley and Louise Brooks


File this under "all roads lead to Louise Brooks:" The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are currently hosting the exhibit "Man Ray | Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism" (through October 14) at the Legion of Honor. And forthcoming is "The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism" (September 15 - December 30, 2012) at the M.H. de Young Museum.

Curiously, both of these exhibits bear a relationship with Louise Brooks. Man Ray, for one, long admired Louise Brooks; it was an admiration which likely dated from her brief celebrity in Paris in 1930. Later in life, he sent an admiring letter and small painting to the former actress. His lover, Lee Miller, also had a close encounter with Brooks. As a teenager, Miller saw Brooks dance while Brooks was a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. 

William S. Paley, founder of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), was a leader in communication, entertainment, and broadcast journalism. His innovations in radio programming and advertising, his  commitment to entertainment and news dissemination, and his acute awareness of popular trends revolutionized broadcasting’s business model, and set new standards in broadcast journalism. He also secretly supported Louise Brooks, giving her a monthly stipend, while she was living in her later years in Rochester, New York. He did so because he and Brooks had likely been lovers back in the 1920s.


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