I happened across this fabulous spread of photos by Edward Weston and his then lover, partner and muse Margrethe Mather in the Los Angeles Times Rotogravure Section on December 26, 1920. It got me to thinking that this was possibly the first publication of female nude photographs in the Times. The images are of the Marion Morgan Dancers whom Weston and Mather photographed sometime in 1920 after Morgan opened a "School of Dancing and Art Drama" in Los Angeles the preceding October. ("Marion Morgan Opens Dance School: Many Film, Music and Stage Students Join Class," Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1920, p. III-26).
(Click on images to enlarge)
"The Nude in Art - Living Pictures," Los Angeles Times Rotogravure Section, December 26, 1920, p. VIII-3. Photos by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather, 1920.
I added a few better quality photos below from various sources to illustrate the effect the original nude rotogravures might have had on the conservative Times readers. These images appeared about three weeks after the arrival of Rudolph and Pauline Schindler in Los Angeles presaging the lifelong friendship between the Schindler and the Weston familes. Within weeks Pauline would be teaching Weston's two oldest sons, Chandler and Brett, at the Walt Whitman School. (For much more on this see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School" (SWWS)).
"In a Sunlit Arbor," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 41.
"Nature's Mirror," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Mutual Art.
"Sunshine and Shadow," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Claremont Colleges Digital Library.
"The Three Graces," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather.
I am compiling material for an essay/exhibition on "Edward Weston and the Dance" so stay tuned. In the meantime please check out my related "Bertha Wardell Dances in Silence: Kings Road, Olive Hill and Carmel" and "Schindlers-Westons-Kashevaroff-Cage and Their Avant-GardeRelationships."