Suzy Solidor – Cabaret Legend

« She was brash, » Claudie remembers, reviewing her childhood memories.  Suzy Solidor, legendary cabaret performer, with hard-hitting revues, was born in 1900 and she established herself in Paris in the early-1930s.  With an androgynous image, she performed songs that were sensual, equivocal and daring, working with the likes of  Edith Piaf and Charles Trénet. She has been called “an alchemist with words”.  She moved to Cagne-sur-Mer in the Côte d’Azur in 1960.

The Vidal-Quadras portrait 1958

The Vidal-Quadras portrait 1958

What intrigues me about her is the number of portraits of her that there are.  I stood in the hall of her portraits at Chateau Grimaldi.  There are 54 in the catalogue and 49 on display.  But this is deceptive:  it is incredible to discover that this collection is only a part of the total, some 224 portraits of her!  This is apart from the hundreds of photo portraits, amongst them, several by Man Ray.  It is like viewing a history of styles.  Most of the portraits at the Château are oils which she bequeathed to the museum in 1973.  The artists include Cocteau, Dufy and Van Dongen.  What stood out for me is the portrait done by Tamara de Lempicka in 1933, probably the most striking deco portrait I’ve seen.

The Tamara Lempicka portrait 1933

The Tamara Lempicka portrait 1933

Notable too, is the sculpture of Suzy done by Marie-Pascale Deleun in 1983, the year of her death.

Sculpture

Sculpture

 I find myself curious as to how she related to these portraits.  Did she pore over them, like the king counting his gold sovereigns?  Do we smugly judge her to be narcissistic?  Perhaps we can say with some irony that her obsession with her own image has become our enrichment.

Poster for film late-1930s

Poster for film late-1930s

Janvier, 2013

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Image Sources: Drawing and some notes from publicity pamphlet; www.terminators.com; www.starok.com and image by Will

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One Response to Suzy Solidor – Cabaret Legend

  1. Sounds like quite a girl -beautiful too..

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