Framed 1918 Antique Silhouette of a Woman by Gene Ross
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This postcard size antique silhouette was cut by Gene (Eugenia) Ross in 1918. The well-known Miss Ross traveled the United States and Europe in the first half of the 1900's, creating her silhouettes by appointment and giving lectures at colleges on her art. She stayed at "swank" places like the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, Florida, where she silhouetted all the prominent guests. She was visited by many famous people, including the actor/director William Desmond Taylor, who met with her a few days before his unsolved murder in 1922.
This bust of a woman shows her posed in the latest fashions, with a high collared shirtwaist and a broad-brimmed, flat-crowned hat, her hair swept into a bun at the back. The black paper silhouette is set against cream colored paper and signed lower right in pencil "Ross 1918," (Miss Ross signed her later art "Gene Ross" also.) The silhouette is framed in a simple, 1/4 inch wide wood frame painted black, with a brass hanging ring at the top. On the reverse is the round original label of the framer, William Traxel in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Traxel Art Company provided frames for artwork, as well as art supplies and an art gallery. The label places them at 132 W. Fourth Street, which tallies with our research for them in 1918.
This artwork measures 6 inches tall by 3 3/4 inches wide and weighs 4 ounces. It's in very good condition, with some small tearing of the backing and wear to the paint on the frame. Silhouettes that are signed by noted artists and dated as well are scarce. This all-original silhouette, made at the close of World War I, is a nice snapshot of the time and highly collectible.
>>>An article in the the Los Angeles Herald Newspaper, February 7, 1921:
Silhouette Artist Opens L. A. Studio
Miss Gene Ross, well known silhouette artist, has opened a studio at the Ambassador hotel, where she is displaying an exhibit of some of her work. Miss Ross has cut the silhouettes of many of the most prominent local people, and several specimens of her craft have appeared recently in newspapers and on the screen. The exhibit is open to the public on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
>>>And from the Desert Sun Newspaper in Palm Springs, February 28, 1936:
Gene Ross, famed silhouette creator, also held an exhibition of her silhouettes from black paper with scissors. Miss Ross is headquartered at the Desert Inn Galleries where her clever silhouettes are on display.