ucr / california museum of photography

After operating a photography studio near the Los Angeles Civic Center for nearly 40 years Raoul Gradvohl vanished without a trace on Thanksgiving Day in 1976, leaving behind financial difficulty and thousands of photographs. Notwithstanding the efforts of his family, private detectives as well as amateur sleuths, Gradvohl's fate remains a mystery to this day.

Born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1898, Gradvohl never entertained pretensions toward art, presenting himself instead as a commercial photographer. His abandoned equipment and photographs were purchased by UCR / California Museum of Photography from Gradvohl's landlord for $250 in 1977.

The Gradvohl portfolio includes studio portraits of young couples, men in military uniforms and women in pompadours. Featured in this web project are selected examples of Gradvohl's studio portraits of burlesque entertainers who performed at the nearby Burbank Theatre.

(Cynthia Morrill, UCR/CMP Museum Writer).