Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mae West: By Max Ernst

MAE WEST inspired the artist Max Ernst [1891 — 1976], who painted her in a mosaic-like portrait with W.C. Fields in 1957. Mae's hat is deliberately styled like a clown's cap; above her figure is suspended the grinning mask of comedy. A unique take on the Chickadee couple.
• • "Projet Pour Un Monument à W.C. Fields" • •
• • Bringing this work into focus, British journalist James Knowlson wrote: A further pictorial candidate came to my attention recently, in the shape of Max Ernst's "Projet Pour Un Monument à W.C. Fields," a remarkable, kaleidoscopic painting of Mae West and W.C. Fields.  In the centre of the 1957 work is a female figure, Mae West, painted as a rotund, buxom torso in red, wearing an ornate hat and holding aloft an unfurled, multi-coloured parasol. The right foreground features the head of a male figure, wearing a top hat and reaching out his hand. This is the comic actor W.C. Fields and the painting had apparently been inspired by the collaboration of Fields and West on a 1940 film called "My Little Chickadee."  ...
• • Source: Article: "What lies beneath Samuel Beckett's half-buried woman in Happy Days?" written by James Knowlson for The Guardian [UK]; published on Monday, 20 January 2014.   
• • On Sunday, 23 January 1927 in the New York Herald Tribune • •
• • The New York Herald Tribune sent a journalist to cover "Sex" and this newspaper printed perhaps the longest diatribe against Mae's play in their weekend edition on Sunday, 23 January 1927.
• • The Herald Tribune drama desk scribe ranted: "It may be said of [Mae West] and "Sex" that they do not make sin attractive. The hell they picture is uninviting, a horrible place whose principal lady-viper has a tough hiss, an awkward strut and an over-plump figure. ..."
• • The newspaper had published another harsh review months before on 27 April 1926 but, for some reason, sent a reporter to take a second look. 
• • Since when is it fair to mock an actress because she's carrying a few extra pounds than your personal ideal of a woman, eh? Such a sad but striking example of what critics scratch out when lost for words, deadline-challenge, and unable to make valid points about a play.
• • On Wednesday, 23 January 1929 in Variety • •
• • "Diamond Lil" had its Chicago premiere on 20 January 1929 at the Apollo Theatre. But a few days later, Mae West was troubled by terrible stomach pains that forced showtime delays or unusually long intermissions. Variety reported on Mae's suffering and its effect on her engagement in The Windy City in their issue dated on Wednesday, 23 January 1929.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Pete Barnes of the Angelus Theater, San Angelo, Texas, held a "Mae West Week," playing three of the Paramount star's pictures for two days each, with business 30 per cent above average. 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Strong coffee is my weakness. Occasionally I drive out for a spaghetti dinner at Jack LaRue's Italian restaurant. Or slip down to Los Angeles Chinatown for chicken chop suey."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Milwaukee Journal mentioned Mae West.
• • "Police Censors Arrest Mae West's Manager" • •
• • Hollywood, Calif. — (AP) — Police raided an allegedly indecent stage show early Tuesday and arrested James A. Timony, business manager of Mae West, and 13 members of the cast of "Ladies by Request."
• • Timony had just watched the curtain fall on the last act when ho was taken into custody. Patrons filed from the theatre, unaware that a raid was in progress.
• •  . . . The play, the second produced here by Timony this year, had been running for several weeks.  ...
• • Source: The Milwaukee Journal; published on Tuesday, 31 December 1935
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2838th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West Max Ernst oil painting in 1957

• • Feed — —
  Mae West

1 comment:

  1. R. Mark Desjardins1:32 PM

    I've seen several artistic tributes to Mae West by various artists, but this Mae Ernst painting is new to me. It is amazing what you are able to sleuth after so many years of your fine daily bog! I once saw a colour reproduction of Andy Warhol's "Mae West Shoe" but can not for the life of me find out what Warhol book it was featured in. When I contacted the Warhol Museum, a clerk replied "we have no record of a depiction of a May West shoe!"