New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Hodel

Another Black Dahlia Portrait at Harvard's Fogg Museum? Part II- Mystery Solved?- Lithograph Possibly Juliet "Julie" Man Ray

November 7, 2017
Los Angeles, California
Thanks to the Eagle Eyes of my good friend, Robert “Dr. Watson” Sadler, retired Dallas 5-0 police officer, crime novelist, and all around good guy, our own mystery lithograph has possibly been identified– and it only took him two days!  Based on this information the previously unnamed “Portrait” appears to be that of Man Ray’s wife, Juliet. Ironically, Man Ray may have drawn it from a 1944 photo shoot of Juliet and Dorothy Hodel! (I say “appears” pending confirmation of the title, which is not visible anywhere on the lithograph.)







Here is Robert Sadler’s email from this morning:

Good morning after your birthday!
As discussed I had not seen the ‘new’ litho, so went to Google this morning and found this, which I’m forwarding in case you have not seen it:
It turns out while the Man Ray lithograph was only listed as “Portrait” on the Fogg Art Museum entry, other copies were sold at auction and contained the further description, reportedly titled, “Julie”. (The lithograph above was “85/100 signed copies by Man Ray and was auctioned in June 2015)
Based on this new information and tentative name identification “JULIE”, if provenance can be verified, then  I would then be confident in saying “CASE SOLVED” and the “Portrait” is, in fact, Man Ray’s wife, Juliet, likely redrawn by him from their “Hollywood Years.”  The potential source of the 1970 could well have been the 1944  Juliet/Dorothy Hodel photo which shows her with a flower in her hair. (Or if not that exact photo, a similar one from the same time period.)
Once again, Mucho Gras to Robert Sadler for helping me keep the investigation on the straight and not so narrow path.
 Update: November 7 2017:
This received from a staff assistant, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museum. So, at this point the “Julie” title still remains unconfirmed.
Dear Mr. Hodel,
I wasn’t able to locate any additional information in our file. The only inscriptions on the print are the run number (37/100) and the artist’s signature, both of which are visible in the photograph on our web site. I find no mention of the word “Julie” on the object. I have no other information regarding the acquisition other than it was a gift of Reese and Marilyn Arnold Palley.

32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138







  1. Teresa M. on November 7, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    The thing is the way she has both hands over her mouth, I have to do that sometimes when in shock and horror when it is not appropriate to express it with one hand..she has not only one hand but two!

  2. Jess M on November 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I would like to point out that Juliet’s eyes were very dark brown, while Elizabeth Short’s were pale blue. I have seen color photos of both of them.

  3. Jenna Strong on December 28, 2017 at 12:46 am

    It very possibly could be inspired by Elizabeth Short. With both hands covering her mouth possibly depicting she was silenced? But also, the hands draw attention visually to her mouth, notoriously slit in the ES murder, also suggesting that she had a secret? It doesn’t seem too far fetched and from an artistic standpoint there seems to be a lot of attention being drawn to what we know is there but cannot see, her mouth,( her secret?).

    • Jenna Strong on December 28, 2017 at 12:52 am

      Also, if you cover your mouth with your hands the way shown in this picture, right on the bottom and left on the top, then you remove your hands from your mouth leaving your hands and elbows in the position required to cover your mouth that way you will find you are posing with the bent elbow position of ES.

  4. Luigi Warren on January 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Steve: From the “It’s a strange world” department… David Lynch, who has fairly explicitly referenced the Black Dahlia murder in at least two films, acknowledged his debt to Man Ray in a 1987 BBC Arena documentary. He presents Hans Richter’s 1947 short RUTH, ROSES AND REVOLVERS, based on an idea by Man Ray. In this film a female compère gestures to an audience while standing before a movie screen showing a man gesturing in front of a photographic portrait of Man Ray. It’s the same self-portrait with crosshairs superimposed on the artist’s face that Man Ray gifted to “George and Dorero” with an effusive dedication. The compère is clearly the inspiration for the “Blue Rose” lady in Lynch’s 1992 film, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME — a mute woman who offers up cryptic clues by gesturing to homicide detectives investigating the murder of Teresa Banks. Strange to think that your father might well have seen this movie. -LW

  5. Dan Lackey on March 5, 2018 at 11:25 am


    The color photos of ES show her eyes being green as this portrait shows. The position of the hands matching over her mouth, matching the position of ES hands over head at the crime scene,
    another outstanding detail. All of the paying homage, back & forth, adds an errie aspect to the Black Dahlia case. No one could make this up. Truth is far stranger than fiction.

    Best Regards,

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