Attitude - that’s what Spanish dancer Maria del Villar (1888-1977) exudes in this unforgettable vintage lithograph. With her hair pulled back, red roses piled high on her head, and a yellow mantle thrown over one shoulder, she wears the costume of a Spanish flamenco dancer. Her face (in profile) is tilted up, her chin is jutting out, and she looks over her left shoulder with an expression that fairly screams, “Look at me! I’m the best!” She projects the self-assurance, self-confidence and cockiness of the renowned dancer she has become.
And she's not just posing here; she's dancing, with her left hand holding her mantle and her green beads flying through the air. She's portrayed the way all dancers should be portrayed - in motion.
After achieving fame as a dancer in Spain and Portugal, Maria del Villar moved to Paris in the 1920s and performed in France as well as in England. Her repertoire during this period was not limited to Spanish dances. She danced to classical music, as well as to more “exotic” music, drawing from Egyptian, Hindu and Arab sources. Nestled in the orange “M” and “V” of her name at the top of the lithograph are small green statues of her (presumably) dressed in costumes reflecting these more exotic dances.
Spanish artist Leon Astruc (1889-1965), also known as Manuel Leon Astruc, who was a contemporary of Maria Del Villar, designed this lithograph. His signature appears in the plate in the lower right corner. The name of the French printer, H. Chachion in Paris, appears at the bottom of the poster on the right side. There is no specific dance performance referenced on the poster. A banner advertising a date and venue would likely have been added for each show.
Astruc's portrait of Maria del Villar uses bold colors -- reds, yellows, oranges and greens -- which provide a brilliant contrast to the dark background. He has captured the person as well as the dancer in this famous portrait and has guaranteed her everlasting fame. What more could she have asked for?
This mesmerizing poster will add interest and value to every collection.