Item #54040 PORTRAIT OF UNA MERKEL. Edward S. Curtis, Sherriff.


Los Angeles, California: Edward S. Curtis Studios, c1934. Gelatin silver photograph, 10 x 12 inches, slight intermittent chipping to the emulsion along the edges, lower tips creased, imprint of a paperclip at the top left corner. Stamped on the blank reverse, "PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPH/ FROM/ EDW. S. CURTIS STUDIOS/ 6332 WILSHIRE BLVD, L.A." Item #54040

Una Merkel (1903 - 1986) stage and screen actress, began her movie career in silent films in the early 1920s. By 1930, she was in Hollywood, where her career flourished through the 1940s, and continued in supporting roles in film and television through the mid 1960s.

Inscribed along the lower left, " To Peppinos/ with every good wish always, Una Merkel." Clearly, Ms. Merkel sat for this portrait by mid 1930; however, the Curtis Studios located on Wilshire Blvd. did not come into being until Beth Curtis Magnuson, Edward's daughter, filed the certificate of business for this address in 1943. As was often the case, a star would present an earlier, or more flattering photograph, to hang on the "wall of fame" - in this case, Ms. Merkel, presented and inscribed her portrait to Joseph Peppino, the owner of Peppino's Italian Restaurant, a popular Los Angeles celebrity hangout.

Edward S. Curtis (1868 -1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist, renowned for his monumental, The North American Indian, a photographic work, which attempted to document all the existing native peoples; the fieldwork lasted for better than 25 years. The publication, complete in 20 quarto volumes and 12 folios, was the most expensive publication to date. Although Curtis received some funding from J. P. Morgan, the project and a divorce nearly bankrupted him. By 1922, Curtis and his daughter Beth, opened a photographic studio in Los Angeles, where he made portraits, occasionally for Hollywood stars and those associated with the studios. For additional income, he was occasionally employed as a motion picture cameraman by Cecil B. DeMille in the filming of The Ten Commandments and other movies. Hollywood portraits by Cutis are uncommon on the market.

Price: $1,000.00

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