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Tórtola Valencia (Seville, 1882 – Barcelona, 1955), like Isadora Duncan and Loïe Fuller, was a globally renowned dancer who fascinated the artists and intellectuals of her time through Spanish and international dance. Drawn by Eduard Jener, she became the image of La Maja perfumes and soaps.
Ismael Smith is known to have created approximately 50 ex libris designs upon his arrival in New York in 1919. Technically outstanding, the bookplates combine elements of Art Deco and expressionist style. They depict symbolic scenes describing the personalities of the books’ owners.
Here the artist focused on the movement of dancer’s necklaces and the swaying of her dress. Her intensity contrasts with the delicate gestures of her hands and feet and with the rounded, yet boyish shapes of her body. In tune with the swinging necklaces, the flower in her hair seems to have a life of its own. In the background a guitarist observes the scene with admiration and restraint.