Objects of Casa Museu Conchita Piquer

Bust of Doña Concha Piquer

Gender stereotypes: Genius / muse

Bust of the artist Concha Piquer by sculptor Alfonso Pérez (Catarroja, 1932-2013). Plaster, with matte black finish. Representation of Concha Piquer during her younger years, with wavy hair wrapped in a bun at the back of her head. Concha was born into a modest household on 13 December 1906 at Calle Ruaya, 23 in Valencia, daughter of a bricklayer and a seamstress. She reached stardom thanks to the solid training she received in the United States, where she discovered a new model of woman, quite distinct from the prevailing Spanish model of those years. There she learned to sing, use make-up, dress elegantly, smoke and drive a car, as well as all the ins and outs of show business. This business training was essential for building a lasting professional career, allowing her to become one of the legends of song. The freedom with which she developed her profession was also reflected in her private life.

Concha Piquer with Maestro Penella and a Group of Journalists

Gender roles

Gender and attire 

This photograph, dating from 1929 and representing Concha Piquer’s private life, shows the songstress posing on the stairway at the entrance to the Balneario de las Arenas spa in Valencia, accompanied by Maestro Penella and a group of journalists. She is wearing an elegant dark-coloured dress with a rich fur-trimmed cape and a cloche hat ornamented with flowers. In the photograph, which was taken at the Las Arenas spa in 1929, Concha Piquer poses surrounded by men, as an example of the New Woman. A new female model that broke with the traditional role previously assigned to women, where women began to participate actively in city life, rubbing shoulders with men on equal grounds. This model was celebrated among professionals and artists, although some men still opposed the presence of women in public life, as they presumed that the freedom boasted by the modern woman went hand in hand with the degeneration of moral values.

Concha Piquer Doing Gymnastic Exercises

Gender and attire

Sequence of four photographs depicting a 20-year-old Concha Piquer dressed in sports attire and performing gymnastic exercises to improve flexibility of arms, torso, back and legs. These images were taken during her time in Chicago in 1926. During the Roaring 20’s, following the First World War, American women wished to continue enjoying the freedom they had acquired when they took on traditional men’s roles in industry, agriculture and medicine during the war, as most men at that time were off fighting on the front line. A strong hygiene movement promoted sports for women, as it was shown that physical exercise was a healthy practice for the individual as a whole. Gymnastics and other “women’s” sports, as well as physical activities in nature, were considered means for the comprehensive physical development of both men and women.

Smith-Corona Typewriter and Case

Gender roles

Sexual/gender division of labor

The large display case on the ground floor of the Concha Piquer Historic House Museum shows an antique Smith-Corona typewriter with a black and red bichrome ribbon. The QWERTY keyboard comprises round black keys with numbers and letters in white. It is stored in a hard, rectangular case with a plastic handle and metal clasps, lined with gray-striped plastic. In the Smith-Corona feed roller and next to the typewriter we find period documents where we can read “Compañia de Arte Español Conchita Piquer – Conchita Piquer Spanish Art Company”. Concha Piquer was not only a songstress; she was a disciplined and organized businesswoman, attributes she developed in American show business, where she received training as an adolescent. The artist approached her work with a great sense of responsibility, requiring the same of every member of her team. In fact, she was known to have sacked a musician for having arrived late to a premiere, and if the artists in her company were not impeccably dressed and well ironed when they arrived on stage, they could be fined.