Aug 19, 2021 - Sale 2578

Sale 2578 - Lot 21

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500


A pair of portraits of the iconic figure François "Féral" Benga.
Toned silver prints, the images measuring 149.2x95.3 mm; 5 7/8x3 3/4 inches, the sheets approximately 235x139.7 mm; 9 1/4x5 1/2 inches, each with the photographer Waléry's (Stanislaw Julian Ignacy Ostroróg) signature and notation Paris, in ink, on recto, and his hand stamp on verso. Circa 1930.

Additional Details

Benga was a well-known figure in both Paris and New York. The Senegalese dancer appeared at the Folies Bergère in Paris (sharing a stage with Josephine Baker), starring in exoticized pieces that created a sensation. In New York, he moved in the Harlem Renaissance and gay circles of Manhattan. Richmond Barthé, Carl van Vechten, and George Platt Lynes, among others, made portraits and sculptures inspired by Benga (Barthé's an iconic, signature work), and he starred in Jean Cocteau's "The Blood of a Poet." By 1947 Benga had opened a bar in Paris that featured an African cabaret.