Jenkins, Florence Foster. (1868-1944) [Bourke-White, Margaret. (1904 - 1971)]

Original Bourke-White Photograph

A rare original photograph of the notoriously awful soprano, taken at a party at her Manhattan apartment in the Seymour Hotel in 1937. Photographed by Margaret Bourke-White for Life magazine, for a projected story, “Life Goes to a Party,” which was never published. While Jenkins stands in an elaborate gown by the piano, the young, bearded Al Hirschfeld (later the famous caricaturist of stage and screen personalities) is visible at the left, together with two unidentified men. One loss at the lower left, with creasing and wear to the edges; otherwise in very good condition. 11 x 14 inches (28 x 35.5 cm).

The American photographer and documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry, the firsthand American female war photojournalist, and the first female photographer for Henry Luce's Life magazine, where her photograph appeared on the first cover.

Florence Foster Jenkins, an American girl born in 1868 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to a well-to-do family, has become a legend as “the world’s worst opera singer.”  She made some vanity 78 rpm records for the Mel-o-tone label during World War Two, and in October 1944 hired Carnegie Hall for a recital.  The bad reviews that resulted from that recital were said to break her heart and she died a few weeks later at age 76, but the recordings have kept her name and her art alive.  In recent years there have been several plays about her, and this year there are three full-length movies.  The first, a French comedy-drama titled “Marguerite,” was released earlier this year.  A second, produced in Britain and starring Meryl Streep as Jenkins, is being released in the USA in August, 2016, and later this year a German docu-drama starring soprano Joyce di Donato as Jenkins will premiere.  Two different full-length biographies of Jenkins have appeared within the last weeks in England, one by Darryl Bullock and the other by Jasper Rees. However, autograph material and other historical memorabilia of Jenkins is of the utmost rarity.  


Classical Music
Unsigned Photograph
Art & Design