Image series 22 / 2023: Josephine Baker

World Star, Freedom Fighter, Icon

14 May 2023 | By: Bettina Pfleging

Start image

Singing and dancing, Josephine Baker conquered a world audience in the 1920s. In Paris, she became the first female superstar with African-American roots and the highest-paid revue dancer in the world. The Parisian art and literary scene was also enthralled by her. She used this stage for the message that peace, freedom and equality are human rights, regardless of skin colour, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
The exhibition focuses on Josephine Baker’s political and charitable activities as a member of the Resistance, as an ambassador for humanity and as a committed champion of the American civil rights movement. Historical photos and documents, artistic positions, autobiographical writings, records, magazines as well as film clips of her revues and interviews tell of her multi-faceted and self-determined life.

„Josephine Baker. Freedom – Equality – Humanity“
18 May to 24 September 2023, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn


Josephine Baker gastiert im Nelson-Theater am Berliner Kurfürstendamm, Ausschnitt, 1925; Bildarchiv des Kompetenzzentrums für Kulturerbe, Universität Paderborn, Kompetenzzentrum für Kulturerbe


Paul Colin. Josephine Baker in Banana Skirt, from Le Tumulte Noir, 1927, Lithograph with pochoir colouring on paper, London; PIXX, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Institut für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft


Dorothea Charol. Josephine Baker, um 1928, Porzellan, 28 cm hoch, Hohenberg; ArteMIS, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Kunsthistorisches Institut


George Hoyningen-Huene. Josephine Baker, Ausschnitt, 1929; Imago, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte


Josephine Baker, J´ai deux amours, Ausschnitt, 1931; Diathek online, Universität Trier, Fach Kunstgeschichte


Marc Allégret. Joséphine Baker chante Haïti, extrait du film Zouzou de Marc Allégret, Ausschnitt, 1934; Bildarchiv, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden


Frank Horvat. Joséphine Baker im “Olympia”, Paris, Ausschnitt, 1956; Diathek online, Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden


Wifredo Lam und Josephine Baker in Havanna, Kuba, Ausschnitt; Diathek online, Universität Trier, Fach Kunstgeschichte