Bessie Smith, born Eleanora Fagan (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an iconic pioneer of American blues and the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on other blues and jazz singers that followed. In the 1920’s she was working a heavy theater schedule during the winter and performing in tent shows the rest of the year (eventually traveling in her own railroad car), Smith became the highest-paid black entertainer of her day. Columbia nicknamed her "Queen of the Blues," but the press soon upgraded her title to "Empress of the Blues". Her brilliant career was cut short when she was killed in a car accident in Mississippi in September 1937.
Raimondi captures the essence of Bessie Smith as a mesmerizing performer and regal stage presence with this elegant sculpture.