26 January 2016

Joe Carstairs' Private Marlene Dietrich Photos Up For Grabs

Marlene Dietrich on Joe Carstairs' yacht: Dietrich's home movies of this day can be seen in the documentary, Her Own Song.

DOYLE NEW YORK is selling some souvenirs of those golden summers Marlene Dietrich spent on the Riviera in the late 1930s. These are from the collection of Joe Carstairs, the heiress and adventuress known as the "The Queen of  Big Whale Cay" (after her island in the Bahamas, where she had hoped to install Dietrich , whom she pursued during this time, in its "Doll House"). 

A highlight of the auction, being held on 27 January, is the previously unseen photos showing Dietrich relaxing beside palms, and lounging at the Pavilion Eden Roc in Antibes. 

According to the auction house, this lot contains approximately twenty photos, including one with Erich Maria Remarque, and a few press photos ("This is my favorite picture," Dietrich noted on the back of one, taken in a restaurant). Another interesting lot features glamour shots from Carstairs' scrapbooks; one inscription quips, "There is Mother!":

It's also worth taking a look at the original photos by George Hurrell,  Clarence Sinclair Bull and others (many of these photos are blind-stamped). There's also a collection of five stills from Hurrell's "leopard print" sitting with Dietrich, c 1937 (the photographer is not identified on the stills themselves). Other lots feature photos from Seven Sinners and Dietrich's time at Warner Brothers in the early 'forties.

All the lots mentioned above are from the Joe Carstairs collection, via the estate of Jacqueline F. Rae. The non-Dietrich-related Carstairs lots are also of interest.


  1. This is an excellent write-up! Marlene must have kept in relatively close touch with Carstairs after their relationship for Carstairs to have these '40s photos. I recall in the book The Queen of Whale Cay by Kate Summerscale, Carstairs attended a Dietrich concert in Miami, which would suggest that they maintained some sort of relationship for even longer. Does anyone know the relationship that Jacqueline Rae had with Carstairs? She is thanked in Summerscale's book.

  2. Gorgeous and most are just snapshots. BTW hi Joseph

  3. I would like some information regarding if she stayed at Hotel de Paris in Saint-Tropez. She was in Saint-Tropez just before the war,38 and 39. Would like some info if possible.
    Was Hotel De Paris the favorite hotel of the then rich and famous?

    1. Hi, Greg. Could you provide a source or sources that indicate that Marlene was in Saint-Tropez in the late '30s? I've read in various issues of Le Figaro that she stayed in Paris, and her stay in Cap d'Antibes at the Hotel du Cap is well documented by many (her daughter, Stephen Bach, Vanity Fair), but I've never read about any stay in Saint-Tropez during those years.