“GYSPSY ROSE LEE” (ca. 1930’s) By PAUL CHRISTENSEN (American, b. 1902, active New York City, early 20th century)
Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches (canvas), 29 x 25 inches (frame).
Christensen lived in Bronx, New York, studied at the Art Students League, New York City, and was a
Ref: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1564 – 1975.
|Rose Louise Hovick, aka “Gypsy Rose Lee,” was a renowned American burlesque entertainer and vedette famous for her striptease act. Also, she was an actress, author, and playwright whose 1957 memoir was made into the stage musical and film “Gypsy: A Musical Fable.” Lee viewed herself as a “high-class” stripper, and she approved of H. L. Mencken’s term “Ecdysiast,” which he coined as a more “dignified” way of referring to the profession. She became as famous for her onstage wit and intellectual recitation as for her stripping. Lee was a union activist, movie star (she made five films in Hollywood), Broadway star appearing opposite Gene Kelly, author of several books and plays, etc. Lee’s stripping performances did not involve complete nudity and by today’s standards would not be considered risqué by the general public. Many times, the billboards advertising her performances were more suggestive than her actual performances. Her successful life was filled with many notable and creative accomplishments.|