LILLIAN GISH (ca. 1915) Early portrait by Witzel


[Los Angeles: Witzel Studios, ca. 1915]. Vintage original 7 1/4 x 9″ (17 x 22 cm.) black-and-white double weight glossy silver gelatin photo. About fine.

A remarkably early portrait of legendary silent actress Lillian Gish. Gish was one of Albert Witzel’s earliest celebrity subjects. He opened his Los Angeles studio in 1909, and within a few years was photographing Gish along with Charles Chaplin and other pioneers of the film business. Some of the loveliest portraits he made are from the ca. 1915 period with Gish, as this portrait testifies. Gish is rather wistful here, wearing the fashion of the day which includes a unique bodice with pearls along the top edge and in a treatment on the shoulders. Gish appeared in D.W. Griffith’s epic groundbreaking film The Birth of a Nation at the time.

Photo has the Witzel, LA imprint on the front. There are various vintage Culver Pictures, Inc. ink stamps on the verso. Although this photo measures a little smaller than the customary 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.), we have personally handled other Witzel portraits from the 1910s also in this specific format.

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