Helena Rubinstein at the Jewish Museum: Mascara for the Masses

October 30, 2014 1:35 PM

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In a week when talk focused on the revamping of Renee Zellweger's face, whether or not the Oscar winning actress went generic with plastic surgery, a voice from history affirmed choice for women of all ages and economics when it comes to feminine enhancement: "Beauty is power," said Helena Rubinstein at a time when makeup was only associated with showgirls and prostitutes. A canny businesswoman, as a splendid new exhibition at the Jewish Museum establishes, the four foot ten inch Polish-born Rubinstein led the cosmetics field in face creams, and reinvented mascara wands; a rival to Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein surprisingly kept her Jewish name.

Even before the twentieth century's world wars, Rubinstein was established in New York but traveled widely taking in a wide range of cultural influences. A connoisseur of fashion and jewels, "Madame" was also a collector fine art. Room after elegantly appointed exhibition space features paintings an...

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