LOUISE BROOKS (ca. 1928) Exhibition portrait by Claire Van Scoy, Eugene Richee – 1


[Los Angeles: Claire Van Scoy / Eugene Richee, ca. 1928]. Vintage original 7.25 x 9.5″ (18 x 23 cm.) double weight glossy silver gelatin print still photo on 11.5 x 14.25″ (29 x 36 cm.) art board backing, USA. Minor diagonal scratch at lower right side. Some waviness to the original backing, near fine.  

Louise Brooks is presented here in her most iconic state, contemplative as she looks to the side in this exquisite portrait by Eugene Richee photographed against a backdrop painted by Claire Van Scoy. This is one of the very few of Von Scoy’s personal exhibition prints from her estate to be offered for public sale.

Claire Van Scoy was born in Iowa in 1885. In 1926 she settled in Los Angeles, where she studied at the Chouinard School of Art.

Van Scoy became the key set designer and background painter for Paramount Pictures in the late-1920s, working especially closely with glamour photographer Eugene Robert Richee. To preserve her own work in this endeavor, Richee provided Van Scoy with 7 x 9″ (17 x 22 cm.) custom proof prints prior to studio publication, which she personally mounted on 11 x 14 ” (28 x 35 cm.) doubleweight art paper for exhibition and archiving. She worked for the Federal Art Project during the late-1930s and created stunning figurative works. But as her work is rare, it is not readily categorized.

Following her work at Paramount, Van Scoy traveled to Spain and is believed to have possibly been involved in the Spanish Civil War, as were a number of other figures from the world’s literary and artistic scene. Upon returning to America, she participated in art exhibitions in Southern California and elsewhere, taught art classes and is reported to have led a bohemian lifestyle until her passing in 1968.

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