Hot Chocolates

Media - 1998.128 - SAAM-1998.128_1 - 45216
Copied Theresa Bernstein, Hot Chocolates, ca. 1919-1928, oil on canvas, 30 1440 in. (76.8101.6 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Girard Jackson, 1998.128

Artwork Details

Hot Chocolates
ca. 1919-1928
30 1440 in. (76.8101.6 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Girard Jackson
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure group
  • African American
  • Performing arts — theater — performer
  • Recreation — theater
  • Architecture Interior — civic — theater
Object Number

Artwork Description

Theresa Bernstein often painted urban scenes and everyday people at play throughout the 1920s, finding inspiration in New York’s music venues. The Hot Chocolates jazz revue started in a Harlem nightclub, Connie’s Inn, and then moved to Broadway’s Hudson Theatre. Over the course of its production, Hot Chocolates featured notable jazz performers Fats Waller, Edith Wilson, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong in his Broadway debut. This painting’s lively composition and rich colors capture the syncopated elements of jazz, as well as the boisterous mood of the show itself. As Harlem Renaissance gossip columnist Geraldyn Dismond wrote in 1929, some parts of Hot Chocolates could "make even a flapper blush."