Mae West

Topic
Costume\Jewelry\Earring
Costume\Jewelry\Ring
Costume\Jewelry\Bracelet
Caricature
Interior\Performing Arts\Theatrical
Costume\Jewelry\Necklace\Choker
Nature & Environment\Animal\Bird\Swan
Mae West: Female
Mae West: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Theater
Mae West: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Mae West: Literature\Writer\Playwright
Mae West: Performing Arts\Performer\Vaudeville
Portrait
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Rights
© Condé Nast
Artist
Miguel Covarrubias, 22 Nov 1904 - 4 Feb 1957
Publication
New Yorker, founded 1925
Sitter
Mae West, 17 Aug 1893 - 22 Nov 1980
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Gouache and ink on paper
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 34.7 x 28.8cm (13 11/16 x 11 5/16")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Date
c. 1928
Exhibition Label
Born Brooklyn, New York
"I used to be Snow White, but I . . . drifted." Mae West—actress, playwright, and screenwriter—was known equally for her double-entendres. She first burst into fame dancing the "shimmy" in the 1918 Shubert Brothers revue Sometime. Soon she began incorporating outrageous moves and lines into all of her performances. In 1926, she wrote, directed, and starred in the Broadway play Sex, a show that created such a scandal that she was prosecuted on morals charges. West served eight days in jail but capitalized on the widespread media attention it gave her. Undaunted, she wrote The Wicked Age, Pleasure Man, and The Constant Sinner before striking gold in 1928 with her play Diamond Lil. Hollywood then beckoned, where West—after boosting Cary Grant’s career in 1933 in She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel—scored her biggest box-office hit co-starring with W. C. Fields in My Little Chickadee (1940).
Type
Drawing
Object number
NPG.96.65