Edward Steichen made this portrait of Princess Yusupov in New York in 1924, during his second year as chief photographer at Condé Nast. Although the photograph is dramatic and glamorous in the manner characteristic of Steichen's commercial portraiture, an unexpected sadness tempers the sitter's beauty and proud bearing. Princess Irina Alexandrovna Yusupov (1895-1970) was the daughter of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and the niece of Emperor Nicholas II (see no. 194). In 1914 she married Prince Felix Yusupov, best remembered as the murderer of Rasputin, the controversial monk whose association with the Russian imperial family discredited the monarchy in its last years. Having seen many of her relatives killed during the Revolution, Princess Yusupov was active on behalf of Russian refugees. She was in New York with her husband to patronize charity events when this photograph was made; it appeared in the April 15, 1924, issue of "Vogue."
Inscription: Stamped on mount, verso TC: "PHOTOGRAPH BY EDWARD STEICHEN // Printed from the original negative."; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso C: "Princess Joussoupoff // #68 // New York, Feb. 10 1924 V.F."; verso BR: "Rarissimo"; verso BL: "3-130B-P [in a penciled rectangle] OOP"
[Graphics International, Washington, DC]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, September 18, 1979
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "From the Gilman Collection: Photographs Preserved in Ink," November 15, 1984–February 26, 1985.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
Whitney Museum of American Art. "Edward Steichen," October 5, 2000–February 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.
Bernard, Bruce. Photodiscovery: Masterworks of Photography, 1840–1940. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1980. pl. 182.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl. 163.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 5, p. 361.