1926 French Barbette Cabaret Poster
(0000-1397)

by Charles Gesmar

Mostly nude transvestite named Barbette with string of pearls and feathers.

A performer who thrived on outrageous excess and dazzle could do no better than engage Gesmar as a posterist; anyone whose designs were stuninng enough to satisfy the demanding Mistingett had to be a master of subject glamorization. Barbette was one of the best known transvestite performers of the 1920's. Born Vander Clyde in Georgetown, Texas, he loved to swing from his mother's clotheslines in the backyard as a child; this led him to become a traeze artist in circuses, where--being of slender build--he performed in a woman's costume. Eventually, he became a celebrated music-hall and nightclub performer in Europe, dressing in opulent costumes and jewelry--and yet always climaxing his act by removing his wig and revealing his gender. This poster was for his 1926 performance at the Casino de Paris. (Paul Colin produced two poster paintings of Barbette for his appearance in 1925 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.) Rare!


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