May 23rd, 2014

carole lombard 05
  • vp19

An early look, in linen

carole lombard p1202-41c eugene robert richee front

Some Carole Lombard portraits can be deceptive in their appearance; take the one above, for example. At first glance, it looks to be from about 1933, possibly even 1934. Then you look at the Paramount p1202 number in the lower right-hand corner, and you're thrown for a loop.

carole lombard p1202-41 eugene robert richee inset

P1202-41? That would mean it was from sometime in late 1930, probably after Carole returned from making "Fast And Loose" at Paramount's Astoria studios in Queens, N.Y. According to the seller, "By the number of the still at the bottom, I know that this shoot was attributed to the famous photographer Eugene [Robert] Richee."

If this seller has a complete list of photographers of Lombard's p1202 pics, I'd love to get my hands on it, but I'm guessing it is indeed Richee's work. He'd been at Paramount since 1921, and his most famous subjects of 1920s stills included Clara Bow and Louise Brooks, including this iconic shot of the latter:

In the '30s, he became identified with portraits of both Lombard and Marlene Dietrich.

For an idea of how different p1202-41 appeared at the time, look at its immediate predecessor, p1202-40, in contrast -- an image that has 1930 written all over it:

carole lombard p1202-40b

P1202-41 is a linen-backed double weight measuring 9.75" x 7.75", with no markings of any kind on the back. The seller says it's in "Overall nice condition with a small indented dot, some scratching to the image, and some creasing to the corners." Nevertheless, it's gorgeous.

Interested in this vintage portrait? You can buy it for $39.99. Go to
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