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Black History Month and Interior Design: Josephine Baker

Today's Interior Design and Black History Month post with a spotlight on Josephine Baker will be less about interior design and more about architecture. Josephine Baker, a dancer, singer, and actress, was born in the slums of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1906. She emigrated to France at the age of 19, where she spent most of her remaining career, eventually, becoming the highest paid entertainer in France during her heyday. During this heyday, Josephine Baker lived a fanciful life that allowed her the luxury of purchasing a chateau in France's Dordogne region and at one point, living in Marrakesh, Morocco at the Riad Star, as a guest of the pasha of Marrakesh. Josephine had many high profile relationships but one that is not widely discussed is her brief but passionate affair with Le Corbusier, a modernist architect, from which resulted several nude sketches of the dancer. It is also rumored that Adolf Loos, one of the pioneers of the modern architecture movement, designed a house for the star clad in all black and white marble. The house was not built during Josephine's lifetime and it is unknown whether she and the architect were ever in actual talks to build it. Take a look at the photos below.

Chateau des Milandes, owned by Josephine Baker and now a museum dedicated to her life.

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Chateau des Milandes in the Drodogne region of France Photo via

Chateau des Milandes, once owned by Josephine Baker; now a museum dedicated to her life. Photo via

A staged interior in the Chateau des Milandes museum depicting how it would have been furnished during the time she lived there.

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The lobby of the hotel Riad Star in Marrakesh, Morocco. Josephine Baker lived here during WWII. It has sense been

refurbished with some areas dedicated to the star.

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A sketch of Josephine Baker done by Le Corbusier. Photo via

A model of a home modernist architecture pioneer, Adolf Loos, designed for Josephine.

The house was never built during Josephine's lifetime. Photo via

Although, the house that Adolf Loos designed was never built in Josephine's lifetime or in France, in 1986, the design was used for an apartment complex (Huis Van Roosmalen) in Antwerp, Belgium. Photo via

Adolf Loos' "House designed for Josephine Baker" was realized by architect,

Bob van Reeth, in 1986 with the Huis Van Roosmalen apartment complex

in Antwerp, Belgium. Photo via

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