BAKER, Joséphine.

Les mémoires.

Recueillis et adaptés par Marcel Sauvage. Avec 30 dessins inédits de Paul Colin.

Paris: K.R.A., 1927 Stock Code: 130748

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First edition, the attractive large-paper limited issue on pur fil Lafuma, number 114 of 300 copies, inscribed on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, "Josephine Baker, August 27/27 Paris": a carefully conserved copy of this fragile publication.

In his own memoirs Paul Colin remembers his first sight of Baker. "Then, naked but for green feathers about her hips, her skull lacquered black, she provoked both anger and enthusiasm I still see her, frenzied, undulating, moved by the saxophones' wail. Did her South Carolina dances foretell the era of a new civilization, finally relieved of fetters centuries old?" (La Croûte, p. 74).

The year of publication was a watershed in Baker's career. Her awkwardly stereotyped appearance in the film Sirène des tropiques, a popular success despite most of those involved considering it a joke, was for Baker "worse than a joke. She was humiliated by it. She had no dignity in this part" (Rose, Jazz Cleopatra, p. 120). It precipitated her decision to change entirely the nature of her performances, depart from France to tour the world, refine her act, and become the sophisticated entertainer of world renown. "The Charleston, the bananas, finished. Understand? I have to be worthy of Paris. I want to become an artist" (quoted p. 140).

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Square octavo - "in carré" - in the original pictorial paper wrappers, printed in red and black.


Portrait frontispiece in black and sepia and 28 other illustrations, most full-page, from Colin's perfectly evocative images of Baker.


Wrappers browned, lightly spotted and somewhat creased at the fore edges, spine tanned and with some splits, now skilfully restored, toning to the text, some browning and spotting toward the fore edge of the long leaves, overall very good.


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