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ACJ Pic Mystery Wayne Hitchcock's Great-Grandmother & Ilse Werner?
by jane for historicalziegfeld May 25, 2008

By some freak accident I ran across this postcard of German movie and singing star Ilse Werner (not Jlse) as shown on the card last night. I though huh, this looks like the woman in that ACJ pic zr 019.

Now when the ACJ pic was sold by the very reputable dealer (along with the mannish znr 105 errrr... as Max says "no, just a woman "a la Dorothy Malone" hahaha - ok I've decided to put that pic here too since it has the same headdress) I thought "what a departure for ACJ!" but the znr 019 does have the typical ACJ background.

Now I'm wondering if the first two pics are both of Ilse Werner, why would ACJ be photographing a German star in the 1930s? She was never in the U.S.

Or is his model not Ilse but just a similar looking woman and the photo is in the style of the Ilse photo by Baumann?

I've posted this before sending it separately to Bob and my primary group hoping that people would share their thoughts and opinions here instead of via email.

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  • historicalzg - 1Reply
    obb1esso wrote on May 27, '08
    Jane, 27/05/08

    Mystery pictures time again, eh.

    For my money znr 019 & znr 105 are both ACJ pictures. Looking at znr 019 first, the background has been used in known ACJ pictures. The model’s pose is consistent with ACJ’s work including the placement of her hands. The “net” and “beads” (more like balls) are an anomaly only seen in two pictures.

    ACJ did take color pictures, maybe only as experiments but he did. Other than color and a blue background the model in znr 105 looks the same to me as in znr 019, not counting the “net” and “beads”.

    Now to the Ilse Werner picture. When did ACJ take the picture and where? Did he go to Germany before WWII or after ? Did Ilse Werner come to the states before or after WWII ?

    I don’t know enough about ACJ to make a guess at his movements from 1938 on, but being in the same place with Ilse Werner and the “net” to me seems remote. On top of that the Ilse Werner picture look like a boring studio portrait, it just doesn’t have the feel of an ACJ photograph.

    ziegfeldgrrl wrote on May 27, '08
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas on this here, OB!

    Yes, both the znr 019 and znr 105 pics are by ACJ. I was there when they were being sold by the most reputable dealer and they came from his estate. Oh that color pic *shudder*

    Does the model in both really look the same to you? The color pic model looks like a man to me hahaha! No, Nick says, just big boned a la Dorothy Malone type.

    The Ilse Werner postcard photographer was Baumann. Yes, boring.

    I have no idea why or where ACJ would have taken Ilse's photo. Your guesses are good ones. Max said maybe she was in the States and he did some sort of publicity shoot. Maybe he needed the money in the late 30s.

    I got this from Bob last night:

    "Regarding this new ACJ mystery, I agree, it is a dilemma of sorts. The first photo definitely looks like an ACJ, but there is something different about it. It has a polished look, sharper look, that isn't characteristic of his work. The second one definitely is not his of course. I suppose you could speculate that since ACJ shot Louise Brooks, and she went to Germany, that maybe she referred ACJ as a photographer to the German actress. Or perhaps, she was doing publicity in NYC and he was well known then, in her price range and available for a shoot. Plus, isn't Johnston a German name???? (whatever that means?? German actresses, German background photographer???)"

    "Stylistically, ACJ did stray once in a while, and perhaps that happened here. Or, in the late 1930's and 40's he could have been trying to modernize his approach to portraiture. I do recall that a friend of Wayne Hitchcock's, whose grandfather was friends with ACJ, sent me a color portrait ACJ took of his mother that was similar to this one. I'll see if I can locate it in my buried archives!!!!"

    Now I *hope* that color pic isn't of Wayne Hitchcock's great grandmother after all the terrible things I've said about it!

    ziegfeldgrrl wrote on May 27, '08
    And I'm still not convinced that the model in znr 019 is Ilse Werner.

    She seems to have a wider jaw line than Ilse and at her hairline, her hair is curlier than Ilse's.

    Perhaps she is just a model and the photo was in the style of Ilse? ACJ had done that before.

    Anyone see what I'm seeing or does everyone think it is of Ilse?

    ziegfeldgrrl wrote on Jun 2, '08
    OK, to continue the saga... Boy, am I sorry now that I said what I said about this photo to Bob :smile:

    Here's what I have from him from earlier:

    "I do recall that a friend of Wayne Hitchcock's, whose grandfather was friends with ACJ, sent me a color portrait ACJ took of his mother that was similar to this one. I'll see if I can locate it in my buried archives!"

    And what I got from him this morning after sending him this pic (while he was hunting for that pic):

    "Yes, this color photo looks alot like the one I am trying to locate. ACJ shot them in CT after he left NYC. Probably from one of his his photo studios he was trying to open back then. I believe this color shot came from the New Haven studio period, about 1949-51."

    "I can see why you don't like it. It is so unlike ACJ. But that's what he was up to back then. He was trying to use more color, and break from his Jazz Age style of image making. It really looks like he took a wrong turn, don't you think???..."

    Um, yep, I sure do think so! Anyone else?

    Anyway, now we know who she is.

    ziegfeldgrrl wrote on Jun 2, '08
    Reply from Bob:

    "Regarding the Ilse photo, you may be right, they could be two different women. I still haven't located that other shot I mentioned, but will try to find it. Now, I think it must be her instead of Ilse."

    I'll have to double check with him. Could this woman possibly be the same woman as in the color photo? Yikes! Must have been a bad day!

    Interesting that ACJ would use Baumann's photo of Ilse as the set up. She must have requested it?
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