DULAC, Edmund (1882-1953). ''The Princess and the White Dove (Portrait of Marion Davies).'' Circa 1922.
DULAC, Edmund (1882-1953). "The Princess and the White Dove (Portrait of Marion Davies)." Circa 1922.
Signed "Edmund Dulac" (lower right).
Graphite and gouache on paper; matted and framed.
12 1/16 x 21½ in.
A fine portrait of the star of the screen Marion Davis in the costume of one of her leading roles. The popular novel When Knighthood Was in Flower (1898) by Charles Major was adapted into a film version in 1922 as the vehicle for Marion Davies financed by William Randolph Hearst and his company Cosmopolitan Productions. Set during the Tudor period of English history, the story tells of the tribulations of Mary Tudor, a younger sister of Henry VIII of England who has fallen in love with a commoner. Directed by Robert Vignola and starring Hearst's mistress Marion Davies and Forrest Stanley, the big-budget silent film was visually spectacular and Ms. Davies proved herself a very capable actress.
In 1923, Dulac's "thirty-year relationship began with the William Randolph Hearst publishing empire. Over this span of years Dulac would paint for Hearst thirteen different series for American Weekly front page covers-or one hundred six American pictures. In spite of the difficulties Dulac endured while working for Hearst, it is a mark of their esteem that they in turn continued to put up with him. Even with these problems, the partnership produced for years a continued display of remarkable art disseminated by all Hearst newspapers"-- Ann Conolly Hughey, "Edmund Dulac: His American Connection," in ABC Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 1998, pp. 9-10. The Hearst-Dulac connection undoubtedly led to this portrait of Davies that commemorates her leading role as Mary Tudor.
"A final category of work that links Dulac to America were his portraits of American personages. In the late 1920s Dulac painted a delicious rendering of Marion Davies costumed as she appeared in the movie "When Knighthood Was In Flower"--Hughey, pp. 11-12.