- Man Ray. Ady (Adrienne Fidelin) Dancing, 1937
This is Adrienne Fidelin, Ady, who was the first black model to appear in a major fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar in 1937, in a photo by her lover, Man Ray. Ady was from Guadeloupe, and a dancer and model - and who knows what else? Her history is largely unwritten, and there is no doubt that is because she was both female and a woman of color. She and Man Ray parted ways in 1940, but before that, she was a fixture on a scene that included Picasso, Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst, and more. She was used, unsurprisingly, as an exotic, but her face is radiant, and the photos of her are startling in their directness. The last information about her on record - and oh, this upsets me - is that she was dancing at a club on the Champs-Elysée in 1940. And then? Nothing more.
This article about Fidelin is interesting. She was interesting.
This is a picnic of Surrealists.
- photo by Lee Miller. Nusch and Paul Eluard, Roland Penrose, Man Ray and Ady Fidelin, Île Sainte-Marguerite, Cannes, Frances, 1937.
- Adrienne Fidelin, Marie & Paul Cuttoli, Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar & Man Ray, in antibes.
You might also like: Dora Maar’s Armadillo; Claude Cahun’s Camouflage; Sarah Goodridge’s Seduction; Elliot Erwitt’s War Cat; Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus; Written Eye
the surrealists had some major racist problems back in the day, which is why i always hestitate do describe myself as a fan of their art, categorically… but damn i wish i could meet/talk to adrienne.