This haunting portrait is the work of Joan Scardon, whose inventive costume designs for Ernest C. Rolls' 1935 revues are featured in my recent book Hanky-Panky, the story of maverick producer Rolls and his wife, revue artiste Jenny Benson.
Joan was the daughter of Melbourne-born Hollywood-based film director Paul Scardon (real name William James Raper). She was born in the US in 1913, but in the mid 1930s she lived in Melbourne, studying art and performing with expressionist dancer Sonia Revid. In 1941 she became the second wife of eminent Russian-American violinist and conductor Mishel Piastro. She died in New York in 2003, aged 90.
Joan's step daughter, Leslie Piastro Askwith, who generously made Joan's original costume designs available for reproduction in the book, is keen to establish the identity of the person in the portrait, which she thinks dates from Joan's time in the artistic milieu of mid-1930s Melbourne.
Any ideas, theories or suggestions will be very welcome!