Portrait of Vivian and Rosetta Duncan

Portrait of Vivian and Rosetta Duncan
Collection Number: 
Current Location: 
Storage Room 303
Lower Level/Vault
Object Description
Artist Dates: 
Artist Nationality: 
Object Type: 
 - Glass
25 inches
1 inch
31 inches

A sepia-toned reproduction photograph print of performers, Rosetta and Vivian Duncan. The Duncan Sisters were American actresses and motion picture figures of the 1920s. They were 12 and 14 when they entered vaudeville in 1914. They performed, as the Duncan Sisters, and were noted for their radio personas, “Topsy and Eva”. Later Rosetta and Vivian would find greater success, as a stage duo, with the act “Topsy and Eva”. Rosetta played the part of Topsy. In a contemporary context, this character is viewed as an insensitive role, as the persona was portrayed in blackface. Her older sister Vivian played the more subdued and innocent Eva. Rosetta accentuated her role with enthusiasm and skill, whereas Vivian would employ a comedic innocence, appearing bashful yet aggressively coy. "Topsy and Eva", the silent film, was released in 1927. The Duncan Sisters would go on to a sound production, when they starred in the film "It's a Great Life...". The Duncan Sisters have been called one of the greatest sister acts of all time. By the late twenties, the Duncan's were receiving $7500 plus half the gate for over twenty five grand per week. This photograph, captures the sisters centered in the portrait, in 1920's fall attire. Vivian is situated on the left of the portrait, wearing a long sleeved light colored top, with a printed scarf and bucket hat. Rosetta, positioned to the left, leans slightly into her sister. Rosetta is garbed in darker apparel, accessorized with a printed scarf, a pearl necklace and cloche hat. Both sister's countenance are very similar, appearing both reserved yet thoughtful.

Reproduce the Work in Library publications/publicity, including film or videotape: 
Make slides or videotapes for educational use: 
Permit the general public to photograph the work :