Skip to main content

Dorothy Dandridge

Carmen Jones
Unidentified Artist
Dorothy Dandridge, 9 Nov 1922 - 8 Sept 1965
Associated Institution
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Color photolithographic poster with halftone
Image: 188.4 x 99.5cm (74 3/16 x 39 3/16")
Sheet: 195.4 x 104.9cm (76 15/16 x 41 5/16")
Mount: 203 x 112.7cm (79 15/16 x 44 3/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Object number
Dorothy Dandridge: American\African American
Exhibition Label
Film poster advertising after World War II generally retained the photographic realism and unambitious designs of wartime messages. This poster, however, advertising Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones, an updated version of Bizet's famous opera, stands out as an unusually successful example from the time period. The beautiful Dorothy Dandridge could both sing and act, and she became the first African American to win an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Unfortunately, what seemed to be the beginning of a stellar career was actually its climax, since good roles for black actresses were practically nonexistent in mainstream films. But every element of the poster for Carmen Jones-vivacious pose, life-size scale, ambiguous space, simplified color scheme, and jazzy lettering-adds to her glamour and promise.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection