PORTRAIT OF SOPRANO ETELKA GERSTER, BY NEW YORK CITY CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER, JOSE MORA

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This cabinet card portrait features Hungarian soprano Etelka Gerster (1855-1920). She debuted in Italy in 1876. In 1878 she performed at the Academy of Music in New York City. She earned great international acclaim during her singing career. She unfortunately lost her voice after the birth of her daughter and never sang again. She became a voice instructor and taught singing in Berlin, Germany between 1896 and 1917. She died in Bologna in 1920. This cabinet card portrait was produced by celebrity photographer Jose Mora of New York City. To learn more about him and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Mora”.

Published in: on October 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN WINS THE LOTTERY IN NEW YORK CITY

MORENOA pretty young woman sits on a faux rock as she poses at the Moreno studio in New York City. She is holding what appears to be an envelope in her hand but at first glance looks like bank check. This fashionable subject is very thin waisted and present herself in what the photographs previous owner called “a fetching pose”.  Antonio E. Moreno was a Cuban painter and graphic artist who became a photographer after seeing the success of his New York based countryman, Jose Maria Mora (see category “Photographer: Mora”). In 1881, Moreno took over a failing New York City photographic studio. The business end of the studio was run by his co-director, Jose Lopez. Moreno developed the business into a great success due to his great talent as a photographer, developer and innovator. He became noted in photographic circles and received much acclaim from his participation in photographic expositions. He surrounded himself with talented co-workers. Much of his staff came from Mexico. Spanish cameraman Antonio Urda was considered to be excellent at his craft but was a fiery man who eventually committed suicide by drinking development fluid after failing to murder printer Domingo Costello. After this incident, Moreno preferred to hire English speaking Europeans to work at his studio. One of his hires was printer Nahum Lubosh whom he snared from celebrated photographer B. J. Falk (see category “Photographer: Falk”).  Another employee, cameraman A. L. Simpson pioneered the use of slides utilized in theater sing-alongs. In 1890 Moreno partnered with the Taber Art Company in publishing photographs of beautiful female models in what has been described as “genre scenes and allegories”. The photographs were well posed, precisely lit and very tasteful. Moreno’s gallery was in business for a quarter of a century and was a center for performing arts portraiture. One wonders if the subject of this cabinet card portrait was in fact a theater actress. To view other photographs by Moreno, click on the category “Photographer: Moreno”.

THEATER ACTOR H. J. MONTAGUE AND HIS CHECKERED TIE AND JACKET

MONTAGUE_0003One wouldn’t think that a man could wear a checkered tie with a checkered jacket and still look dashing, but theater actor H. J. Montague is able to accomplish this feat. The photographer of this cabinet card portrait is theater specialist, Jose Mora. To view more of his celebrity photographs, click on category “Photographer: Mora”. The reverse of this image has an address and a return address as if it had been mailed. However, there is no stamp or postmark. The photograph is addressed to a “Jane Mure” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The script is written in very ornate calligraphy. Surprisingly, both the return and sending addresses have Philadelphia zip codes. Since zip codes are from the twentieth century (1963), it appears that someone may have added the ornate script to give the card more character but wasn’t aware, or not thinking about, the relative recent introduction of the zip code system. Henry James Montague (1844-1878) was the stage name of Henry James Mann. He was an American actor born in England. He appeared in T W Robertson’s comedies in London and in 1870 was a founder of London’s Vaudeville Theater. He came to the United States in 1874 and made quite a splash. He became a matinee idol. George Odell wrote that Montague was “a perfect specimen of refined English Manhood”. He was said to have “made other leading men seem boorish, ill dressed and possibly a bit vulgar”. Montague died quite young, about 34 years old. According to the New York Times (1878) while playing a role in a San Francisco production, he fell extremely ill from a “hemorrhage of the lungs”. He required medical attention from some theater goers and was taken to a hotel to recuperate. He rallied only briefly. During a visit from friends he became acutely ill and his last words as he was dying were reported to be,  “It’s no use, I am going boys; God bless you”. The New York Times covered his funeral. Attendees of his funeral include the “A” list of that era’s theater world. Mourners included Lester Wallack, Kate Claxton, Rose Coghlan, and Maud Granger. The afore mentioned three actresses all have portraits that can be viewed in the Cabinet Card Gallery by utilizing the search box.