We do not know whether Marcel Vertès and Janet Flanner first met in Paris or New York, but it was a meeting of minds and of artistic outlooks. The journalist Janet Flanner (1892–1978) served as the Paris correspondent of The New Yorker magazine from 1925 until she retired in 1975. She wrote under the pen-name ‘Genêt’, and as well as journlism she also wrote a novel, The Cubical City, set in New York.

Janet Flanner in US military uniform at the liberation of Paris in August 1944

Flanner was a prominent member of the American expatriate community in Paris, which included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, e. e. cummings, Hart Crane, Djuna Barnes, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. She played a crucial role in introducing her American readers to important artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Jean Cocteau.

Moving in the same circles, journalist and artist would inevitably have crossed paths, and may even briefly have been lovers (Flanner had several concurrent relationships during her time in France). Vertès admired strong women, which Flanner certainly was. This collaboration for The Hyperion Press was a happy one, Flanner providing a short but punchy text to accompany two dozen trademark Vertès prints, mostly referring to the artist’s experiences in New York.

The titles of the prints are:

  1   The Intruder
  2   After the Morning After
  3   Regretful Rising
  4   He Forgot to Kiss Me Goodbye
  5   The Voice of Experience
  6   Hot April
  7   Raised Eyebrows
  8   Inventory
  9   Nini la Rousse
10   La Liseuse
11   On the Ropes
12   There You Are Boys
13   Bumps
14   Dark Rhythm
15   Smalls Paradise
16   Circus Family
17   Estrellita
18   Hoopla
19   Equestrian Love
20   One Minute to Go
21   Dairy Maid
22   Harlem Debutantes
23   Brooklyn Stripper
24   Love

The Stronger Sex was published by The Hyperion Press, New York, in a limited numbered edition of 1,750 copies.