WEEGEE "BOWERY ENTERTAINERS", 1950
The inimitable and notorious photographer known as Weegee, (aka. Arthur Fellig) exposed the scope of New York’s nightlife; whether it was celebrating high-culture or low-life revellers. Throughout his career Weegee was a true nightcrawler whether he was pursuing early hour crimes and disasters or hitting up parties that rocked till dawn.
By the 1940's the artist’s status as minor celebrity, as well as his intimacy with the city allowed him access to diverse crowds and very different haunts. One of Weegee’s favorite downtown destinations was a cabaret club on the Lower East Side named Sammy’s on the Bowery.
Sammy’s became an important location for Weegee, so much so that it had its own section in the photographer’s 1945 book, Naked City.
“There is no cover charge nor cigarette girl, and a vending machine dispenses cigarettes. Neither is there a hat check girl. Patrons prefer to dance with their hats and coats on. But there is a lively floor show...the only saloon in the Bowery with a cabaret license,” Weegee recounted of Sammy’s.
This image of cabaret singers Billie Dauscha and Mabel Sidney captures the spirit at Sammy’s that attracted the photographer. An alternative to the highbrow nightclub, Sammy’s attracted customers of all kinds throughout the night. Here, Dauscha and Sidney pose provocatively in front of a lively backdrop.
This image of the jovial women was of such importance to Weegee that he cropped it into a second work, Portrait of a Lady.
This image was also included in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s 2005-2006 retrospective of the artist, and is held in the museum’s permanent collection
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“Billie Dauscha and Mabel Sidney, Bowery Entertainers" (Bowery Entertainers)
Gelatin silver print
USA, c. 1950
13”H 10.5” W (work)
20.5"H 17.5"W (framed)
Good condition. Detailed condition report by request.
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