Edward J. Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
Gelatin silver print
9 13/16 x 7 7/8 in. (24.9 x 20 cm)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005 (2005.100.157)
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. 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.