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Belle Epoque Postcards ~ Artists ~ Olga Desmond

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Olga Desmond
(Olga Antonie Sellin)

* 1891 Allenstein (Ostpreussen)
† August 2nd 1964, Berlin (Germany)

Olga Desmond was a famous German dancer in the first two decades of the 20th century.
At the beginning of her career she was studying drama in Berlin and worked as a (nude) model for artists and painters. Joining an artiste group in 1907, her first performances took place in London. Her dance performances were derived from classical poses and pantomime. She was always dancing barefoot, pretty scandalous for that time, and became most famous for her nude dance performances with special stage make-up.
Of course this caused problems with authorities, so that some of her performances got forbidden and she had to use veils or gauze dresses while dancing in variety.
One of her most famous dance photos is "Schwertertanz" (1908) by Otto Skowranek, also shown on the title of Jörn E. Runges biography about Olga Desmond.

Between 1915 and 1917 she was also acting in a several movies. From 1922 on she focused only on teaching dance. She finished her career in the early 1930s, due to declining interest in her style of dance and the persecution of her second husband Georg Pieck, a jewish businessman for stage equipment, decorations and special fabrics.

After World War II she lived almost forgotten and poor in the former German Democratic Republic.

 

Olga Desmond

 

Bibliography & References:

Olga Desmond

unknown publisher 87-2 - Olga Desmond

Olga Desmond

unknown publisher 87-6 - Olga Desmond

Olga Desmond

NPG 1230 - Olga Desmond

Olga Desmond

Verlag Hermann Leiser, Belin 5243 - Olga Desmond

 

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