Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), Vintage Photos of New York City

Berenice Abbott (1898 – 1991), née Bernice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her black-and-white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930’s. Abbott went to Europe in 1921, spending two years studying sculpture in Paris and Berlin.She studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and the Kunstschule in Berlin. During this time, she adopted the French spelling of her first name, “Berenice,”Abbott first became involved with photography in 1923, when Man Ray hired her as a darkroom assistant at his portrait studio in Montparnasse. Later she wrote:

“I took to photography like a duck to water. I never wanted to do anything else.”

Very few details are known about her personal life. The film “Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century”, which showed 200 of her black and white photographs, suggests that she was a “proud proto-feminist”; someone who was ahead of her time in feminist theory. Before the film was completed she questioned:

“The world doesn’t like independent women, why, I don’t know, but I don’t care.”

Abbott proposed Changing New York, her grand project to document New York City, to the Federal Art Project (FAP) in 1935. The FAP was a Depression-era government program for unemployed artists and workers in related fields such as illustration and publishing. Abbott’s efforts resulted in a book in 1939, in advance of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow NY. At the project’s conclusion, the FAP distributed complete sets of Abbott’s final 302 images to high schools, libraries and other public institutions in the metropolitan area, plus the State Library in Albany  (source).

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Night View, New York by Berenice Abbott (1930s) via

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Broadway and Rector from Above, New York, by Berenice Abbott (1930s) via

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Manhattan, New York, by Berenice Abbott (1930s) via

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Flatiron Building, Manhattan, by Berenice Abbott via

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Madison Square by Berenice Abbott (1930s) via

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Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan by Berenice Abbott (1930s)

© Tomáš Marounek/Flickr via

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ElSecond and Third Avenue Lines; Bowery and Division Street, Manhattan by Berenice Abbott (1930s) via

 

Louise Brooks as “The Canary” in The Canary Murder Case (1929)

The Canary Murder Case is a 1929 American Pre-Code crime-mystery film made by Paramount Pictures, directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. The screenplay was based on novel The Canary Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine. – Louise Brooks plays the role of Margaret Odell (The Canary), a scheming nightclub singer

1929: Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case.

Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case via

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Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case 1929.  Image by George P. Hommell via

 

Vintage Photos of Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne Hébuterne (1898 – 1920) was a French artist, best known as the frequent subject and common-law wife of the artist Amedeo Modigliani. Born in Paris, she aspired to be an artist and was introduced to the vibrant Montparnasse artist community through her brother Andre, who was himself an artist.

She modeled for several painters and sculptors, but soon enrolled in the Academie Colarossi for her own artistic training. There, in the spring of 1917, she met the charismatic artist Amedeo  Modigliani. Jeanne began an affair with the charismatic artist, and the two fell deeply in love. She soon moved in with him, despite strong objection from her parents

Modigliani, suffering from tuberculous meningitis,  died in January 1920. Jeanne Hébuterne’s family brought her to their home but Jeanne, totally distraught, threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window the day after Modigliani’s death, killing herself and her unborn child. Her family, who blamed her demise on Modigliani, interred her in the Cimetière de Bagneux. Nearly ten years later, the Hébuterne family finally relented and allowed her remains to be transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery to rest beside Modigliani. Her epitaph reads:

“Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice”.

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Jeanne Hébuterne (1914) via

Jeanne Hébuterne all'età di sedici anni (1914)

Jeanne Hébuterne (1914) via

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Jeanne Hébuterne via

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Jeanne Hébuterne at Amedeo Modigliani atelier in Montparnasse Paris (1919) from iulia achimescu via

Some Vintage Alphonse Mucha Photographic Studies

In 1887 while studying, Czech painter and decorative artist, Alphonse  Mucha (1860 – 1939) moved to Paris. There he, in addition to studying, worked at producing magazine and advertising illustrations. About Christmas 1894, Mucha happened to go into a print shop where there was a sudden and unexpected need for a new advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt. Mucha volunteered to produce a lithographed poster within two weeks, and on 1 January 1895, the advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou was posted in the city, where it attracted much attention. Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of this first poster that she began a six-year contract with Mucha. His style was given international exposure by the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, of which Mucha said:

“I think [the Exposition Universelle] made some contribution toward bringing aesthetic values into arts and crafts.”

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was termed initially The Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for “new art”). Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors.

Mucha’s work has continued to experience periodic revivals of interest for illustrators and artists. Interest in hiss distinctive style experienced a strong revival during the 1960s, with a general interest in all things Art Nouveau.

 

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Alphonse  Mucha, Study for a Decorative Panel (1908) via

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Alphonse Marie Mucha. Model posing in Mucha’s studio rue du Val de Grâce  © Mucha Foundation via

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Alphonse  Mucha. Model posing in Mucha’s studio rue du Val de Grâce  © Mucha Trust
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Alphonse Marie Mucha. Model posing in Mucha’s studio rue du Val de Grâce via

1900 The Precious Stones 4b photographic study in Mucha's stdio Rue du Val de Gra_ce, Paris _ Mucha Trust

 The Precious Stones photographic study in Mucha’s stdio Rue du Val de Grâce (1900), Paris © Mucha Trust via

03 c1900 Portrait of a Lady photographic study in Mucha’s studio, Rue du Val de Grâce, Paris © Mucha Trust

Portrait of a Lady photographic study in Mucha’s studio, Rue du Val de Grâce (ca. 1900), Paris © Mucha Trust via

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Photographic study © Alphonse Mucha Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris via

16 Photgraphic study for 'Truth'

Photographic study for ‘Truth’ © Alphonse Mucha Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris  via

Vintage Photos of French Salon Queen Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952)

Aristocrat, Élisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860 – 1952) was a renowned beauty and queen of the salons of the Faubourg Saint-Germain in Paris. She was the daughter of Joseph de Riquet de Caraman and his wife Marie de Montesquiou-Fezensac. In 1881 she married the unfaithful, quick-tempered Henri, Count Greffulhe (1848-1932), of the Belgian family of bankers. The comtesse has been described in these words:

“The Comtesse Greffulhe is always beautiful and always elsewhere. But it would be a mistake to think that her life was merely the pursuit of pleasure (…) not only is she beautiful, but she is a lady. Preferring the privacy of her own house in the rue d’Astorg and at Bois-Boudran in the country, the Comtesse Greffulhe never dined out except at the British Embassy. When Edward VII came to Paris, he dined informally at her house. After a restricted youth (…) she set herself to attracting musicians, scholars, physicists, chemists, doctors.”

She regularly entertained the cream of Parisian society at her salon in the rue d’Astorg. The comtesse helped establish the art of James Whistler, and she actively promoted such artists as Auguste Rodin, Antonio de La Gandara and Gustave Moreau.

She was the inspiration for the Duchess of Guermantes in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, she regularly ordered – notably from Worth – sumptuous outfits that highlighted her splendid waist. She was a patron of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets russes, and launched a fashion for greyhound racing.

Fascinated by science, she helped Marie Curie to finance the creation of the Institute of Radium, and Edouard Branly to pursue his researches on radiotransmission and telemechanical systems.

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Comtesse Greffulhe photographed by Otto Wegener (around 1886)

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Comtesse Greffulhe  wearing a ball gown photographed by Otto Wegener (ca. 1887) via

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Comtesse Greffulhe looking sideways photographed by Félix Nadar (1900) via

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Comtesse Greffulhe shows off her bare shoulder and, fashionably semi-concealed, her striking figure in a turn-of-the-century dress via

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In this puzzling image, Comtesse Greffulhe  is seen embracing her own double. The Comtesse wears an elaborate dress with decorated blouson bodice and swirling fabric and a simple dress that could be worn today (1899) via