[Holiday, Billie. (1915-1959)] Gottlieb, William. (1917 - 2006)

Billie Holiday at the Downbeat Club, NYC, 1947

Gelatin silver print, the image measuring 19 1/4x15 3/8 inches (48.9 x 39.1 cm.), the sheet slightly larger. 1947; printed 1979. Signed, titled and dated verso in ink by the artist. Nicely framed in solid walnut. Fine. 26 x 30 inches overall. 

Amongst the many photographs that Gottlieb shot of jazz artists, this tightly cropped portrait of Billie Holiday, seized at a pivotal moment of complete surrender to song, became a famous and widely used photograph of the artist and one of the most iconic images in the history of jazz.  “I especially tried to capture personality, but that’s an elusive quality and I was successful only a portion of the time. But I certainly hit it on the button here with a picture of Billie Holiday, whose voice was filled with anguish. I also tried to capture the beauty of her face. She was at her most beautiful at that particular time which was not too long after she had come out of prison on a drug charge. She couldn’t get any drugs or alcohol while she was incarcerated. She lost weight and came out looking gorgeous, and her voice was, I think, at its peak. I was fortunate enough to have spent time with her during that period, and I caught this close-up of her in a way that you could really see the anguish that must have been coming out of her throat." (18164)

Signed Photograph