Portrait of Ernestine Myers with Cigarette
As a teen, Ernestine Myers enrolled in Madame Marie Jung’s eminent Chicago Musical College. Myers studied under the famous Ruth St. Dennis and Ted Shawn in LA. She became a headliner in New York’s 81st Street Theater, Palace Theater, and Winter Gardens. Her creative specialty was combining acrobatic toe dancing with ballet and Creole dancing. She was also featured in the Ziegfeld Follies and in the movie Sinbad with Al Jolson. Eventually, she joined the Kieth and Shubert vaudeville companies on tour. When her business manager died in 1922, she canceled her bookings and returned to her hometown Terra Haute, Indiana. There she founded the Ernestine Myer’s School Of Dance which she ran for 54 years. In this portrait, she rests her arm upon a surface to her right, casting a lowered gaze in the same direction. She wears a wide-brimmed hat indicated only by the light trail along the brim illuminated by a distant light. The corresponding shadow cast beneath the brim frames her face and her solemn expression, causing her skin to nearly glow in the light. The thick black mascara coating her eyelashes, appearing almost moist perhaps by tears, explains the cigarette burning in her hand. From it rises a photo manipulated black smoke instead of the white that Hixon typically applied.