kat himmel | curious thing
history through portraiture

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remember adelaide

remember adelaide

from 30.00

art/history: the search for historically relevant subject matter sometimes leads me on a merry chase; but this circuitousness always instructs. today, it enraged. there's so much substance & talent all but lost in the mists of time. i could have easily drawn mario puzo (born #otd in 1920) & called it done & dusted. having read about him, the only thing that intrigued me was his writing for the 1984 film, 'the cotton club' - which led me to adelaide hall. she was a key player in the harlem renaissance & her career spanned seven decades, but we don't hear about her incredible oeuvre as often as we do that of her contemporaries: lena horne, cab calloway & josephine baker. adelaide spent her first working decade touring the world & collaborating with jazz luminary, duke ellington. she & her british-jamaican husband were successful enough to purchase a house in an exclusive estate called larchmont in the new york suburb of westchester, but their affluent white neighbours tried to have them evicted. addy stood her ground & insisted that, as her lineage could be traced to the shinnecock indian tribe, she had more claim to the land than any cracker snob. it's possible that this incident contributed to her three year tenure in paris, where she & her husband opened la grosse pomme in pigalle (one of whose house bands was none other than quintette du hot club de france, featuring django reinhardt & stephen grappelli). she upped sticks again in 1938 & crossed the channel to england. there, she recorded over 70 records with decca & was the first black artist to have a long-term contract with the BBC. it seems that her star began to fade soon after she died in london at the age of 92 (1993). her memory merits revivification.

original drawing:
fine art print on cotton paper:
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