Amazing Vintage Portraits by Madame d’Ora (1910s-1920s)

Dora Philippine Kallmus (1881 – October 28, 1963) was an Austrian-Jewish fashion and portrait photographer who went by the name Madame D’ora. Dora, born in Vienna in 1881, came from a respected family of Jewish lawyers. In 1905 she was the first woman to be admitted to theory courses at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt. That same year she became a member of the Vienna Photographic Society. She trained at Nicola Perscheid’s studio in Berlin, where she became friends with his assistant Arthur Benda. In 1907 she opened a photography studio with Benda in Vienna called the Benda-D’Ora Studio. What followed was  a distinguished career as a salon photographer. In 1925, she moved her atelier to Paris, and during the 30s and 40s rose to international prominence through society and high fashion photography. Both her er studios in Vienna and Paris became fashionable meeting places for the cultural and intellectual elite. In Vienna she had  become extremely popular among the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy.

Her subjects included intellectuals, dancers, actors, painters, and writers, fx.  Josephine Baker, Tamara de Lempicka, Maurice Chevalier, Colette, Niddy Impekoven. These vibrant portraits of twentieth-century artists and intellectuals remain important testaments to European cultural life at the turn of the century and beyond.

According to Jewish Women Encyclopedia D’Ora was one of the first photographers to focus on the emerging areas of modern, expressive dance and fashion, particularly after 1920, when fashion photographs started to replace drawings in magazines. While her photographic technique was not radical, her avant-garde subject matter was a risky choice. D’Ora’s photographs captured her clients’ individuality with new, natural positions in contrast to stiff, old-fashioned poses. D’Ora’s achievements also paved the way for other European women’s careers in photography, an area in which many Jewish women in particular found success.

When the Germans invaded France, Madame D’ora fled to a convent in the country side.  Dora returned to France in 1946 and re-opened the studio.

In 1959 she was involved in a serious traffic accident that left her an invalid. She died in Frohnleiten, Steiermark, Austria, in 1963.

Marie Conte by Madame d’Ora

Dora Kallmus (Madame d’Ora) & Arthur Benda - Fashion study, Vienna c.1920.

Fashion study by Madame d’Ora & Arthur Benda. Vienna, ca 1920

Portrait of an unknown lady by Madame d’Ora, 1925

Vintage Photos Featuring Dancer Maria Ley-Piscator (1920s)

Maria Ley-Piscator (b. Friederike Czada 1898 – 1999) was born in Vienna and was educated as a solo dancer. She found international succes in the 1920s.

She is best known as the wife of Erwin Piscator – Germany’s famous left-wing theater director.

In the 1930s she studied literature at the Sorbonne, where she met Erwin Piscator during his exile in 1936. By then she had been married twice. Her first husband Robert Bauer had disappeared without a trace and her second husband, AEG heir Frank Deutsch,  had committed suicide in Paris after Hitler came to power.

After marrying in Paris, the couple moved to Manhattan in 1939, where they founded the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research. Their students included Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and Tony Randall. Ley-Piscator directed several theatrical productions off Broadway.

During the 1970s she worked as a teacher at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale and at Stony Brook University. Ley-Piscator died in New York in 1999 at the age of 101.

Maria Ley 1922 via

DORA MARIA LEY IM ROKOKO 1924

Maria Ley 1924 by Madam d´Ora via

Maria Ley c.1926 via

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Maria Ley at Roger Wolfe Kahn’s Club by Madam d’Ora via

Vintage Photos Featuring Arletty by Madame d’Ora

Arletty (1898 – 1992) was a French actress, singer, and fashion model. Born to a working-class family, she left home and pursued a modeling career, after her father’s death. She took the stage name “Arlette” based on the heroine of a story by Maupassant.

Her early career was dominated by the music hall, and she later appeared in plays and cabaret. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years before her film debut in 1930. Her career took off around 1936, when she appeared as the leading lady in the stage plays Les Joies du Capitole and Fric-Frac, in which she starred opposite Michel Simon. She later starred as Blanche in the French version of A Streetcar Named Desire.

She was imprisoned in 1945 for her wartime liaison with a German Luftwaffe officer, Hans-Jürgen Soehring, during the occupation of France. For her crimes she received a sentence of eighteen months imprisonment, most of which was served in a private chateau.

In 1995, the government of France issued a series of limited edition coins to commemorate the centenary of film that included a 100 Franc coin bearing her image.

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920 via

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, 1929 via

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920 via

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920 via

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920 via

Vintage Photos Featuring Dancer Leïla Bederkhan

Leyla Bedirhan (1903-1986) was born in Istanbul. She was the daughter of a kurdish Prince and his Polish wife. She studied ballet in Germany.

Leïla Bederkhan was the name she preferred to use in Europe. She was the . She performed in Europe and the United States with a modern dance program composed of works inspired by Assyrian and Egyptian dance styles. Intending to highlight the historical roots of her choreography, she put on her performances in authentic locations; and she produced a dance exhibition utilizing the Great Sphynx at Giza in Egypt as a background (source). She died in Paris.

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Leïla Bederkhan by Madame d’Ora (Dora Kallmus) via

Leila Bederkhan

Leïla Bederkhan by Arnold Genthe via

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Leïla Bederkhan via