Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Burlesque Portraits

I was told that these two photos had come from the estate of a former Burlesque theater owner. They look like old lobby photos, displayed so that patrons could see who would be performing that night. The full length portrait is labeled "Polly Anne." A play on Pollyanna I would guess. No name on the head shot. The photographer's mark, "Bloom Chicago" is too vague to get anything from a Google search, but James J. Kriegsmann gave some interesting results. Kriegsmann was born in Vienna, Austria on January 1, 1909. He studied photography in his native Vienna before coming to the United States. He opened up a studio, on Broadway, in 1929, and specialized in theatrical portraits. He also did the portraits for the New York Transit Authority's Miss Subway promotion for thirty years. I'm a great fan of the Gene Kelly movie, On The Town, which has, as a plot point, Kelly's pursuit of Miss Turnstiles, obviously a play on Kriegsmann's Miss Subway pictures. Kriegsmann died on April 29, 1994. He was 85. His son James J. Kriegsmann, Jr. is also a commercial photographer specializing in theatrical portraits.

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