La Revue Negre
Black-faced man and woman dancing.The posterist known only as Orsi produced hundreds of posters, many of them for the theater, and all with strong, eye-catching designs. In the history of this art, his name must occupy an important place because of the innovative character of his esthetic...and the importance of his work (Benenezit). And though Colins poster for La Revue Negre may be the most famous, his Orsi design for the career-establishing music hall event is far-and-away the most rare. It marks a watershed in the spectacular career of Josephine Baker, who substituted as the headliner at the last moment. Its true that even back home, Josephine, in the chorus line of a big Broadway nightclub show, was already very far indeed from her humble background as daughter of a poor St. Louis laundress, but even in her wildest dreams, she couldnt have anticipated what would happen to her in Paris: she became virtually the toast of the town within a few weeks of the shows opening. Ten glorious weeks La Revue Negre played at the Music Hall of the Champs-Elysees. Booked for a fortnight, it was extended and extended. Early in November, Josephine and company were still dancing there while the great Pavlova waited impatiently for the theater she had been promised...At the end of the month, La Reveu Negre was finally forced to move to the Theatre de lEtoile, where Josephine added insult to injury by performing a wicked parody of Pavlova as the Black Swan (Josephine, p. 121). The lively angular design shows a nearly nude Baker in a lively Charleston step with a male partner in full-tilt boogie close behind. Rare!