96” x 84”
Oil on Linen
Born in Cherryvale, Kansas, Louise Brooks started her amazing and fractured life. The daughter of an attorney and artistically detached mother, Louise grew up a free spirit. At the age of nine her innocence was compromised by a trusted man whom she names as Mr. Flowers. This experience influenced her whole life, as her sensuality fought with her anger towards men.
Louise had already confirmed her dance career and left Wichita, Kansas to study with Ted Shawn, Ruth St. Dennis and Martha Graham. Due to her stubborn temperament, she was dismissed from the company. Finding work through influential friends landed her in the Ziegfeld Follies. The transition from showgirl to cinema came easy, and she became a silent film actress. Louise loathed the Hollywood scene. After being denied a raise, and being strong-armed by the studio, she went to Germany and France to make three controversial films. These films later became masterpieces of the Silent Age.
When Louise returned to Hollywood, she was blacklisted, rumors were spread about her “wrong” voice for new sound films, when in fact she had a lovely and sophisticated voice. Louise retired from show business in 1938 and briefly returned to Wichita, KS. She confessed her “own failure as a social creature” and headed East. Her later years became reclusive. Louise began to share her great talent for writing and became known for her essays on film, and eventually her own memoir, “Lulu in Hollywood.” Her escalating despair and decline in health was increasingly evident to her friends, who would call to plan a visit with her, and with each conversation she would end it with “Bring a gun.”
Louise Brooks died of heart failure in Rochester, NY, in 1985. She was 80 years old.