For the upcoming exhibition Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power (October 31, 2014 – March 22, 2015), Alex Kelly, the spring Shoshanna and David Wingate Curatorial Intern, assisted the Jewish Museum curatorial staff in gathering research on Helena Rubinstein’s life, collection, and cosmetics business. Here, Alex reflects on the experience of getting to know this charismatic art lover, entrepreneur, and self-made woman.
Helena Rubinstein devoted her life to the pursuit of youth and beauty. Her cosmetics company began at the turn of the 20th century as a humble one-woman operation. For more than six decades she grew the Helena Rubinstein brand into a global empire. One of the things I’ve found most impressive about Madame (as she was ubiquitously known) is how she carefully crafted her public image throughout her career, using her own name, face, voice, and life story to successfully sell her beauty brand. Continue reading