A Collection of Photos feat. Mucha Models

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

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

A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring Maud Allan the Salomé Dancer

Canadian pianist-turned-actor, dancer and choreographer Maud Allan (1873 – 1956) was born as Beulah Maude Durrant. She spent her early years in San Francisco, California, moving to Germany in 1895 to study piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. She changed her name in part by the scandal surrounding her brother Theodore Durrant, who was hanged in 1898 for murder. Allan never recuperated from the trauma of this event. She abandoned piano-playing and developed a new means of self-expression through dance.

Shortly before she began dancing professionally Allan is said to have illustrated an encyclopedia for women titled Illustriertes Konversations-Lexikon der Frau.

In 1906 her production “Vision of Salomé” opened in Vienna. Based loosely on Oscar Wilde’s play ,Salomé, her version of the Dance of the Seven Veils became famous (and to some notorious) and she was billed as “The Salomé Dancer”. Her book My Life and Dancing was published in 1908 and that year she took England by storm in a tour in which she did 250 performances in less than one year.

Allan is remembered for her “famously impressionistic mood settings”. She was athletic, had great imagination and even designed  and sewed her own costumes. But she had little formal dance training. She was once compared to professional dancer and legend Isadora Duncan, which greatly enraged her, as she disliked Duncan.

Around 1918 Allan’s popularity began to take a turn. In a hope of earning back some of her public adoration she starred in a private performance of the ‘Vision of Salome’ and irked homophobic right-wing nationalist MP Noel Pemberton Billing. Mr Billing wanted Allan’s downfall as there was a rumor circulating that she had a lesbian affair with Margot Asquith, the wife of former prime minister Herbert Asquith. He believed that Allan and the Asquiths were all German spies; which he implied in an article. Allan sued Billing for criminal libel, but she lost the case.

Hence, from the 1920s on Allan taught dance and she lived with her secretary and lover, Verna Aldrich. She died in Los Angeles, California.

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Maud Allan, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, c.1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan by Bassano, 1913 via

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Maud Allan by Reutlinger, 1909 via

Vintage Photos of Romanian Art Nouveau Building “Constanta Casino”

The Constanța Casino is a casino located in Constanța, Romania. The casino was built three separate times, with the first structure being erected of wood in 1880. It was designed to be a club and community center for elite and upper-class socialites willing to spend. Once considered Romania’s Monte Carlo and a symbol of the City of Constanța, the most-recent and modern version was built in Art Nouveau style, also being the most important Art Nouveau building in the country, designed and built according to the plans of Daniel Renard and inaugurated in August 1910.

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Historic Picture Constanta Casino Boardwalk with Patrons via

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Constanta Casino, Old Picture with patrons via

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Casino Terrace with Boardwalk in background via

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Interior of Constanta Casino via

The Peacock Room (1890)

The Peacock Room was originally designed as a dining room in the townhouse located at 49 Prince’s Gate in the neighbourhood of Kensington in London, and owned by the British shipping magnate Frederick Richards Leyland. Leyland engaged the British architect Richard Norman Shaw to remodel and redecorate his home.

Shaw entrusted the remodelling of the dining room to Thomas Jeckyll, another British architect experienced in the Anglo-Japanese style. Jeckyll conceived the dining room as a Porsellanzimmer (porcelain room).

Above the fireplace hung the painting, Rose and Silver: The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, by American painter James McNeill Whistler, that served as the focal point of the room. The ceiling was constructed in a pendant panelled Tudor-style, and decorated with eight globed pendant gas light fixtures. To finish the room, Jekyll placed a rug with a red border on the floor

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The Peacock Room at 49 Prince’s Gate, London, ca. 1890 via

A Collection of Photos featuring Curvy Beauty Lillian Russell

Lillian Russell (1860– 1922) became one of the most famous actresses and singers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, known for her beauty and style, as well as for her voice and stage presence.

For many years, Russell was the foremost singer of operettas in America. Her voice, stage presence and beauty were the subject of a great deal of fanfare in the news media, and she was extremely popular with audiences. Actress Marie Dressler observed,

“I can still recall the rush of pure awe that marked her entrance on the stage. And then the thunderous applause that swept from orchestra to gallery, to the very roof.”

When Alexander Graham Bell introduced long distance telephone service on May 8, 1890, Russell’s voice was the first carried over the line.

Russsel had a  flamboyant personal life and was married four times. She married composer Edward Solomon in 1884 and created roles in several of his operas in London, but in 1886 he was arrested for bigamy. Her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades.

A 1940 film was made about Russell, although it presents a sanitized version of her life.

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Lillian Russell as fortune teller via

Amazing Vintage Photos of Loïe Fuller and the Serpentine Dance

in the 1890s the amazing serpentine dance became popular throughout Europe and the United States. The new dance was created by Loïe Fuller (1862 – 1928). Fuller was a visionary artist whose novel genre of performance combined billowing costumes with dazzling lights and projections to conjure transformative imagery of hypnotic beauty. Born in Chicago, Fuller embarked on an early theatrical career as an actress and singer in vaudeville, stock companies, and burlesque before developing the dance style that made her famous in the early 1890s. Through experiments with silk drapery and colored lights, she evolved her first Serpentine Dance. Thereafter, the genre became known as “serpentine dancing” and was widely imitated.

Her warm reception in Paris during a European tour persuaded Fuller to remain in France and continue her work. A regular performer at the Folies Bergère with works such as Fire Dance, Fuller became the embodiment of the Art Nouveau movement. Fuller’s pioneering work attracted the attention, respect, and friendship of many French artists and scientists, including Jules Chéret, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, François-Raoul Larche, Henri-Pierre Roché, Auguste Rodin, Franz von Stuck, Maurice Denis, Thomas Theodor Heine, Koloman Moser, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Marie Curie.

Although they later became rivals, Fuller helped the career of a young Isadora Duncan. Fuller helped Duncan ignite her European career in 1902 by sponsering independent concerts in Vienna and Budapest.

At the turn of the 20th century, Fuller brought dance to the cutting edge of modernity, and her energy and ambition made her one of the most influential American women of her era. Fuller died in Paris, France, on January 2, 1928.

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Loïe Fuller

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Loïe Fuller

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Loïe Fuller

 Loïe Fuller

Portrait of Loïe Fuller, by Frederick Glasier, 1902 via

The Serpentine Dance on Film

This is an 1896 film of Fuller performing the dance by pioneering film-makers the Lumière brothers. It gives a hint of what her performance was like. The Serpentine Dance was a frequent subject of early motion pictures, as it highlighted the new medium’s ability to portray movement and light. Many other filmmakers produced their own versions, distributing prints that had been hand-tinted to evoke (though not quite reproduce) the appearance of colored light projection. Fuller also appeared in films by Segundo de Chomon, fx. in the 1908 silent Création de la Serpentine (1908).