Amazing Belle Epoque Photos by Henri Manuel

Henri Manuel (1874 – 1947 was a Parisian photographer who served as the official photographer of the French government from 1914 to 1944.

In 1900, Manuel opened a portrait studio in Paris with his brother Gaston, which specialised in portraitphotography. Manuel quickly became renowned as a photographer of people from the worlds of politics, art and sports, as well as a photographer of art and architecture. Soon his portraits were used by news agencies, and in 1910 Manuel’s studio began providing a commercial service to news agencies for photographs known as “l’Agence universelle de reportage Henri Manuel”.

The studio became the largest photographic studio in Paris and a leading centre where young aspiring photographers such as Thérèse Bonney might go to work.

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Sarah Bernhardt by Henri Manuel via

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Genevieve Lantelme by Henri Manuel via

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Régina Badet by Henri Manuel, c. 1910 via

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Marie Curie in her laboratoire, 1912 via

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Denise Poiret by Henri Manuel, 1910s via

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Colette by Henri Manuel, 1900s via

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Fashion photograph by Henri Manuel, 1895 via

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Princess Beatrice Posing in her Beautiful Wedding Dress (1885)

In 1885 Princess Beatrice (1857-1944), the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, married Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858–1896).

The marriage took place at Whippingham on the Isle of Wight on 23 July.

They had 3 sons and 1 daughter. Their daughter was Victoria Eugenie, Queen of Spain. King Felipe VI of Spain is her great-great-grandson.

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Princess Beatrice posing in her wedding dress, 1885 via

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Princess Beatrice posing with prince Henry, 1885 via

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Princess Beatrice posing in her wedding dress, 1885 via

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Princess Beatrice posing in her wedding dress, 1885 via

Wonderful Portrait of Queen Mary of Teck Prior to Royal Wedding (1893)

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Portrait of Queen Mary (1867–1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, sitting prior to wedding, 6 July 1893. The Diamond rivière necklace was a gift from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in memory of the Duke of Clarence, 27 February, 1892. Photo by James Lafayette via

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Portrait of Queen Mary (1867–1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, sitting prior to wedding, 6 July 1893. The Diamond rivière necklace was a gift from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in memory of the Duke of Clarence, 27 February, 1892. Photo by James Lafayette via

Extraordinary Vintage Photos of The American Circus by Frederick W. Glasier

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Queen, the High Diving Horse, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, circa 1899 via

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Joan of Arc, circa 1912 via

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Ella Bradna, Equestrian, circa 1903 via

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Loie Fuller, Glorine, Butterfly Dancer, 1902 via

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Charmion, Strong Woman, 1904 via

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Nettie Carrol, circa 1904 via

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Annette Kellerman, circa 1907 via

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Gertrude Dewar, Mademoiselle Omega, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, 1908 via

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Mademoiselle Scheel with Lions, circa 1905 via

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Living Statues, circa 1905 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

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

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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

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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

 

 

Pictorialism from the Turn-of the-Century Photo-Secession Movement

The Photo-Secession was an early-20th-century movement that promoted photography as a fine art.

A group of photographers, led by Alfred Stieglitz and F. Holland Day in the early 1900s, held the then controversial viewpoint that what was significant about a photograph was not what was in front of the camera but the manipulation of the image by the artist/photographer to achieve his or her subjective vision.

The movement helped to raise standards and awareness of art photography. Proponents of Pictorialism, which was the underlying value of the Photo-Secession, argued that photography needed to emulate the painting and etching of the time. Pictorialists believed that, just as a painting is distinctive because of the artist’s manipulation of the materials to achieve an effect, so too should the photographer alter or manipulate the photographic image. Among the methods used were soft focus; special filters and lens coatings; burning, dodging and/or cropping in the darkroom to edit the content of the image; and alternative printing processes such as sepia toning, carbon printing, platinum printing or gum bichromate processing.

The “membership” of the Photo-Secession varied according to Stieglitz’s interests and temperament but was centered around the core group of Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Clarence H. White, Gertrude Käsebier, Frank Eugene, F. Holland Day, and later Alvin Langdon Coburn.

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 Mending Nets by Alfred Stieglitz. Carbon print (1894) via

 

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 “A Study” by Gertrude Käsebier. Platinum print (ca. 1898) via

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By Clarence H. White (1871) via

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Actress Minnie Maddern Fiske by Fred Holland Day (created 1895-1912) via

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The Brass Bowl by Edward Steichen. Photogravure on tissue-thin Japan paper. Literature: Camera Work 14 (1906) via

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Minuet by Frank Eugene, Photogravure on tissue-thin Japan paper. Literature: Camera Work 30 (1910) via

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 The Bubble by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Gum bichromate over platinum print (1908) via