The “Ebony Venus” and the “Bronze Apollo” - Josephine Baker and the Russian-born French ballet legend, Serge Lifar, on the Lido beach in Venice, 1930s. Ms. Baker talked about this day in “Josephine,” the biography she wrote with her former husband, Jo Bouillon, which was published in 1976, one year after her death.
“We had had a wonderful time together on the beach in Venice during my Italian tour. I loved to hear Serge speak. He was more entertaining than all the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square. I’d like to have been Picasso in order to sketch him… Actually, he knew Picasso, as well as those who had made me the “ebony Venus” and named him the “bronze Apollo.” Paris had welcomed him from the East two years before I arrived from the West. There on the sun-drenched sand, intoxicated with the sheer joy of motion, we danced. What a curious pas de deux – the star dancer of the Paris Opera and a colored entertainer swaying together in bathing suits on the Lido beach.” Photo: Hotel des Ventes, Geneve.