Australia 1900 – United States of America 1982
United States from 1919
Portrait of Marlene Dietrich, Hollywood
Direct positive colour photograph
image 34.6 (h) x 26.8 (w) cm
Gift of American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia, Inc., New York, NY, USA, made possible with the generous support of Anton Bruehl Jr, 2006.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Director Josef von Sternberg created the image of Dietrich as femme fatale in six films he made between 1930 and 1935, beginning in Germany with Der blaue Engel and then continuing in Hollywood. Dietrich is shown here at the end of this process, during the making of Frank Borzage’s Desire in which she plays a sultry jewel thief opposite Gary Cooper. The image appeared in the last issue of Vanity Fair. Too glamorous for the Depression years Vanity Fair was incorporated into Vogue then discontinued until its rebirth in 1983. Bruehl also photographed Dietrich in black and white in 1932 when the ship she was travelling on docked in New York on the way to California from Germany. Here Bruehl and Bourges collaborate with Dietrich in the creation of celebrity as icon.