N.p. N.p., 1917. Vintage double weight sepia portrait photograph of Lillian Gish, in a stunning profile, by noted photographer Albert Witzel, signed and dated “17” by Witzel in holograph white pencil, on lower left.
Witzel was one of the premier photographic portraitists in the 1910s and early 1920s, often employing Rembrandt lighting and moody shadows, which influenced Hollywood’s use of glamorous images to sell its film stars. Witzel’s photograph of Viola Barry from Hobart Bosworth’s The Sea Wolf (1913) was the first movie star portrait to appear in the Los Angeles Times on August 21, 1913. Witzel’s work ran regularly in the Los Angeles Times beginning in 1915, and in film fan magazines like Photoplay and Motion Picture through the 1920s.
At the time of the photograph, Gish was well established as “The First Lady of American Cinema,” having made dozens of films since her screen debut five years earlier. The previous year, she had starred in both An Innocent Magdalene, directed by Allan Dwan, and Intolerance, directed by long time collaborator D.W. Griffith. Unlike most years, in which she appeared in multiple films, Gish only made one film in 1917, the now lost Souls Triumphant, directed by John B. O’Brien.
7 x 9 inches. Near Fine.