Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stanwyck - The Ziegfeld Years.

Ruby Stevens during her Ziegfeld time 1923-24.
I've seen the above photo many times and loved it each time.  It seems to me that the pose/persona she's affecting is one of her greatest acting feats.  When you consider the rough-knocks childhood she had to endure, that later hard-boiled Stanwyck was really more of a natural for her.

The photo was taken by Alfred Chaney Johnston, an interesting chap in his own rite.  Charles Dana Gibson, originator of the illustrations know as The Gibson Girl, set the standard for American female ideal at the fin de siecle.  It's then only fitting that he took on the mentorship of Alfred Chaney Johnston guiding him and his photography to capture perfection in the female form for the next generation.  Johnston's career was made in 1917 when the great Flo Ziegfeld brought him in to 'glorify the American girl' in photographs.  He enjoyed tremendous commercial popularity throughout the 20s and into the mid-30s.  Then by the end of that decade, styles had changed but Johnston's had not.  In 1940 he and his wife left the center of it all and moved to a 15 acre parcel in Oxford, CT.  His era had past and the next three decades saw a much smaller life for Alfred.  In the 60s Chaney unsuccessfully tried to donate his entire studio and picture inventory to several organizations in both New York and Washington DC but there was no interest in storing such a vast amount of material.  The Library Of Congress did accept 245 prints as well as several product advertisement pictures.  The childless widower passed away  in 1971.

That top photo is just a teaser.  Chaney took other pictures of Stevens/Stanwyck.  Below are what I have found and they're lovely:





**posted with love for eva.

10 comments:

normadesmond said...

though i adore stanwyck, i never thought of her as beautiful. that first shot proves me wrong. very wrong.

Miss Janey said...

Agree with normadesmond. She ROCKED the dark hair.

jason said...

beautiful!

Jon said...

OMG - Constance Colby Patterson naked! Jx

EVAinDC said...

Stunning. Flo sure knew how to pick 'em.

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

I never have cared for her because I find each of her performaces the same, full of angst - like she is carrying some sort secret around and she is so afraid that she'll burst that it just makes her more likely to spill the beans.

But she quite darling in these pictures. No wonder Garbo found her enchanting.

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

...And may I add that she had a set of gum-drop nipples to beat the band!

ilduce said...

Beautiful! What a shame that no organization would take his collection, It always makes me cringe as a Librarian when I think of all that's been lost.

Jon said...

Indeed - I wonder whatever happened to the collection? Jx

VP81955 said...

Now you understand the payoff for Walter Neff and all those guys in "Baby Face."