During the Depression years a contract-bridge craze swept the country, and Ely Culbertson was its darkly romantic hero. Romanian-bom, he spent his youth in the Caucasus inciting revolutionary movements. When he settled in New York—penniless—in 1921, he earned a living playing cards in Greenwich Village bistros. He developed a radical new method of bidding and with it quickly dominated the growing bridge circuit. Through a shrewd use of publicity, he became an extraordinarily wealthy man. Nikol Schattenstein painted this view of Culbertson and his wife in 1935, capturing the player’s studied composure at the height of his fame.