Alfred Cheney Johnston was the official photographer of the Zeigfeld Follies. His portraits of the Zeigfeld Girls are considered fine art today, and his original vintage 14×18 prints of Ruth Etting sell for hundreds of dollars. You can find his images of lesser-known Ziegfeld girls at slightly lower prices, but in general, his nudes are worth the most. The market is so hot, modern prints of his work are all over eBay – but only the vintage prints are valuable.
The nude of Ruth Etting above is the only known nude image of the singer, and for an Alfred Cheney Johnston nude, it’s rather chaste – since she is strategically covered by the shawl.
These images were most likely shot in late 1928 and/or early 1929. The second and third images were used to promote the Broadway show, Whoopee! which opened on December 4, 1928. The third image with the beret is dated January 1929, which may be the date it was printed, rather than when it was shot.
In the first four images she is wearing the same shoes, and in the third and fourth images the same clothes. The fifth image with the large hat has different shoes, but the hair is the same as in the nude shot, so it’s highly likely all of these images was shot during the same session, or very close together.
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