MYSTERY CHANTEUSE PHOTOGRAPHED BY NADAR

ILBERT_0002This Cabinet Card presents a bit of a mystery.  The photograph is by famed French photographer, P. Nadar of Paris. The subject of the photograph is a mystery. The reverse of the card has the name “Ilbert”  written in two places. In addition the word “Chanteuse” also appears. Is she an opera singer? Is she a nightclub singer? The woman is very stylish and is wearing a fur and interesting hair clip. Hopefully, a viewer will leave a comment with some identifying information.                                                    ADDENDUM: This photograph entered into the cabinet card gallery in 2009. Since then there have been a number of cabinet card gallery visitors that have left comments concerning the identity of the subject of this  image. There has been some disagreement, but at least two visitors have identified this performer as being Yvette Guilbert (1867-1944). To follow the discussion about identification, check out the comment section below. Now back to Mlle Guilbert. Born as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, she began singing as a child but worked at a Paris department store model when she turned sixteen. She also took acting and voice lesson and in 1886 she began working as an actress. She debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She was soon singing at a number of popular clubs before starring in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. Over time she began to sing a lot of  monologue “patter songs”. Often the lyrics were risque, even raunchy. Her song frequently featured tragedy and poverty. Guilbert was audacious and audiences ate it up. She was celebrated in France, England and the United States. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert. Later in her career, she appeared in silent movies, talkies and made recordings. She also wrote books about the Belle Epoque. It is interesting to note that Nadar, the photographer of the mystery chanteuse also photographed Yvette Guilbert. A Nadar photograph of Mlle Guilbert is part of the collection at the National Library of France. A copy of that image can be found below.

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Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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ON THE ROAD WITH FRENCH ACTRESS GABRIELLE REJANE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features French theatre actress Gabrielle Rejane standing on the sideboard of her chauffeur driven limousine. A little boy (most likely her son) peaks over her shoulder at the camera. The car in this photograph is beautiful, as was Rejane. A cabinet card image of the actress can be seen below. The photograph was taken by celebrated photographer Felix Nadar. Gabrielle Rejane was the stage name employed by Gabrielle-Charlotte Reju (1856-1920). She was born in Paris and had theatre in her blood as her father was an actor. She studied under Regnier at the Conservatoire and excelled in comedy. She made her debut in 1875 playing a number of “soubrette parts. Her first major success was in Meilhac’s “Ma Camarade (1883) and she quickly became known as a talented emotional actress. She played roles in “Decor”, “Ma Cousine”, and “Lysistrata”. In 1892 she married M. Paul Porel, the director of the Theatre du Vaudeville. The marriage lasted twelve years. In 1893 she appeared in Paris and soon thereafter she appeared in her most famous role as Catherine in Sardou’s “Madame Sans-Gene” in London and New York. In 1906 she opened the Theatre Rejane in Paris. She and Sarah Bernhardt served as the models for the character of the actress Berma in Marcel Proust’s novel “In Search of Lost Time”. Gabrielle Rejane’s acting is thought to represent what wikipedia describes as “the essence of French vivacity and animated expression”. Rejane appeared in a number of short films during the pioneering days of early cinema. Réjane died in Paris and is buried in the Cimetiere de Passy. Her obituary appeared in the New York Times (1920) and it was chock full of praise including; “She was the supreme comedienne of her time.” The image of Me. Rejane seen on this postcard was photographed by Paul Boyer (1861-1908) of Paris. He invented the use of magnesium for the flash in photography. He also was a very talented and award winning photographer. His studio was located at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. He produced many portraits of theater actors and actresses as well as other celebrities of his time. This postcard was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 2000).The postcard is addressed to Lyons, France and the writer of the message written on the card dated it 1908. This postcard is particularly special because it is a rare image of Gabrielle Rejane.

 

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BRITISH STAGE ACTRESS CISSY GRAHAME PHOTOGRAPHED BY W and D DOWNEY IN LONDON, ENGLAND

CISSY GRAHAMEBritish stage actress, Cissy Grahame is the subject of this portrait by the famed London photographic studio W. & D. Downey. She looks quite beautiful in her lace scarf and feathered hat. Grahame was born in 1862. She was the daughter of an actress and she took her first stage role at the age of thirteen. Three years later she was  hired to the stage by Mr. Wilson Barrett and soon thereafter by the Kendal’s. As she progressed in her theatrical career she added theatre management to her repertoire. To view other photographs by the Downey studio, click on the category “Photographer: Downey”.

Published in: on November 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ROMANTIC SCENE FROM THE PLAY “HAVANA” (1908): VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD

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This vintage real photo postcard captures a scene from the the stage production of “Havana” which appeared in 1908 at the Gaiety Theatre in London. The play ran for 221 performances before going on the road around England. The show later played in Berlin, Philadelphia and New York City (The Casino Theatre). Interestingly, future star, Gladys Cooper appeared in the chorus. The play’s plot was that Evie Greene was the daughter of a cigar store owner who also happened to be the mayor of Havana. She was promised to her cousin in marriage but was in love with an English yachtsman (McKay). To complicate matters, the McKay was suspected of being a revolutionary. The actors in this image are Evie Greene and Leonard McKay. Edith Elizabeth (“Evie”) Greene (1875-1917) was an English actress and singer who played in Edwardian Musical Comedies in London and on Broadway. She was quite beautiful and was often photographed. She was most known for starring in the international hit musical “Florodora” (1899). She sang in the cast album of the show which was historic because it was the world’s first original cast album. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no. 7431 F). It was printed in England. The photograph itself is by “Play Pictorial”. “Play Pictorial” was an English theatre magazine published in London between 1902 and 1939. The publication provided a pictorial presentation of West End theatrical productions with each issue focusing on just one play.

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MARIE STUDHOLME: BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful stage actress Marie Studholme (1872-1930). The English actress and singer was known for her supporting and starring roles in Victorian and Edwardian musical comedies. Her theater career spanned from 1891 through 1915. Her roles included appearances in “An Artists Model” (1895), “The Messenger” (1900), and “Lady Madcap” (1906). Marie Studholme’s beauty made her one of the most popular postcard models of her time. This postcard was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4188 A) and was printed in England. Miss Studholme’s portrait was photographed by the celebrated Foulsham & Barfield studio. Although photo postcard portraits of Miss Studholme are common , this particular photograph is uncommon.

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SYBIL ARUNDALE: BEAUTIFUL THEATER ACTRESS (VINTAGE POSTCARD)

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This item is a vintage postcard featuring the very attractive theater actress Sybil Arundale (1879-1965). Her stage roles included a number of Shakespeare plays. Her sister Grace was also an actress. The postcard was produced by Philco Publishing Company in London, England. It is number 3005 in a series. The photographer was Alexander Bassano (1829-1913) who was a leading royal and high society photographer located in London.

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FRENCH STAGE ACTRESS AND DANCER MLLE DERMINY: PRETTY WOMAN WITH ANTENNAS (REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of French stage actress and dancer Mlle. Derminy. I am unsure of her first name but she is listed in a number of sources as Marthe Derminy, who was an early film actress. The two performers may, or may not be, the same individual. Take a look at the headpiece that Mlle Derminy is wearing in this photograph. She looks like she has antennas coming out of the top of her head. It is as if she just walked out of a space ship. She is a pretty woman and is posed in relatively risque fashion. Derminy was photographed by many of the most celebrated photographers of her era. I have seen portraits of her by Reutlinger, Walery, and Stebbins. This postcard portrait was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie which was located in Rueil, France.

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CAMILLE D’ARVILLE: PRETTY STAGE ACTRESS WITH STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE AND CAREER

darvilleThis cabinet card portrait features pretty stage star Camille D’Arville (1863-1932). The photograph was published by Newsboy and was number 38 of a series of images used as tobacco premiums. The  actress is dressed like a gypsy in this photograph. She is holding a tambourine. It is interesting to note the mug in the bottom right hand corner of this image. One wonders the purpose of it’s inclusion in the photograph. It is also evident that to make this image a bit more risque, Miss D’Arville’s legs are partially exposed in the photograph. The Illustrated American (1892) wrote that she “is not only a delightful singer but she is also a charming woman”. Miss D’Arville was born in Holland in 1863 of well to do parents. When she was young she was known in her community as “the humming bird of Holland” because of her penchant for singing and her pretty voice. At age eleven she became active in amateur theater. At age fifteen she became devoted to concert singing and entered the Academy of Music in Amsterdam. Her professional career began at age twenty-two when she became a light opera actress in London. She premeired in “Cymbia” at the Strand Theater. She performed in London for six years. In 1888, J. C. Duff organized a strong opera company and engaged her to appear in “The Queens Mate” on Broadway in New York City. She shared the stage with Miss Lillian Russell. Reviewers of the play reported that Miss D’Arville captured the audience. As her career developed, she became “one of the foremost artists on the comic operatic stage”. In an interesting interview that appeared in the San Francisco Call (1900), D’Arville spoke about the issue of balancing career and marriage. She was preparing to marry Capitalist E. W. Crellin and had declared that she was going to retire from the footlights. The newspaper scoffed at the notion of her retiring because so many actresses before her had made the same declaration upon their marriage, yet after turning their backs on the stage, they do a “right about face” again. The paper opined that “they flit back before the honeymoon is over”. Miss D’Arville asserted that she wouldn’t miss her salary (reported to be “something like” a thousand dollars a week). She stated that she would miss the audience “hanging on” to every note she sang. She had a theory about mixing marriage and career. She asserted that when an artist, milliner or stenographer renounces her vocation for “the highest profession-domestic life- the world nods its approval”. However, she contends that female professionals, such as actresses, lawyers, doctors, and journalists, do not receive social approval when leaving their careers for marriage. She declares that in her opinion, attempting to combine stage and home life is about as easy as mixing oil and water. As a result, she believes that “any woman who pursues a profession after her marriage makes a miserable failure of it”. Balancing work and home is seen as so stressful that professional women have to quit at least one, and they usually choose to quit matrimony. She concludes that “marriage does not handicap a woman in her profession, but a profession seriously interferes with married life.” The issue concerning women’s ability to balance career and marriage remains part of the public debate today. Perhaps we should focus more on men’s ability to balance work and family life. It clearly is not just a problem for women. It is really incredible how researching a photograph can take one in so many different directions. Researching a vintage photograph is akin to going on a journey to a mystery destination.

Published in: on September 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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STAGE ACTRESS MISS NINA CADIZ AND HER MANDOLIN (1906 RPPC)

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This vintage real photo postcard features stage actress Miss Nina Cadiz and her mandolin. I am actually not sure that her string instrument is a mandolin and hopefully a musically informed visitor to the cabinet card gallery will correctly identify it. This postcard was mailed from England in 1906. The message on the postcard wishes the addressee a “very happy New Year”. The postmark is December 31, 1906 which may indicate the writer was a bit of a procrastinator. The postcard was published by Stewart & Woolf who were located in London. The postcard was part of a series (116)  and is numbered #50. A portrait of Miss Cadiz can be found in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. The image can be seen below. Note that the photography studio that produced the portrait is Elliott & Fry, a name that should be familiar to frequent Cabinet Card Gallery visitors. Click on category Photographer: Elliott & Fry to view more of their photographs.

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Nina Cadiz as Felice in 'The Little Minister', by Elliott & Fry, November 1897 - NPG x127904 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL AUSTRIAN ACTRESS IN VIENNA

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This cabinet card features a beautiful young actress. I am hypothesizing that she is an actress based on her wardrobe and her great poise. The young lady is wearing a necklace and a jeweled hair band. Note her interesting footwear. She is standing by a faux pile of rocks in the Schuster studio which was located in Vienna, Austria. This cabinet card is not standard sized. It measures about 3 3/4 ” x 8 1/4″.

Published in: on August 25, 2015 at 11:53 am  Comments (2)  
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