CM: In 1933 Rich had a small role in Rowland Vance Lee's (1891-1975) film, "Zoo in Budapest". The film features Zani, a kind young man who has spent his life working in the Budapest zoo. His only true friends are the animals, and he has been chastised by his boss for being too nice to them. He loves the animals so much that he steals animal furs from the women who wear them. When Zani meets Eve, a beautiful young orphan girl who is on a school trip to the zoo, he falls in love. To free Eve from her strict school environment, Zani harbors her in the bear cave. The evil zookeeper's attempt to discover them results in many dangerous animals being freed from their cages, and it is ultimately from the zookeeper that Zani saves Eve. In many respects this film is about the love for animals that Rich certainly shared. The film led to her acquaintance in Los Angeles with renowned Hungarian painter Geza Kende, which resulted in his Portrait of Frances Rich in Riding Habit. In this painting Rich is clad in riding attire, seated casually with one hand on her waiste on a split rail fence on an animal farm. Her horseback riding garb includes a white shirt with large collar and striped necktie, and a tailored brown suede jacket with long crème trousers to match. Her other hand holds a pair of leather gloves to complete the ensemble. All of these effects demonstrate that the riding habit for women uses details from fashion for men. More importantly, however, Kende's portrait of Rich demonstrates her dignified presence; her fine posture reflects a traditional American upbringing in horse grooming. Up until the moment Kende portrayed her, Rich had been emulating the career of her mother, Irene, a popular movie star. From that point on, though, Rich was going to be portrayed as an artist.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens