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.

00-holding-la-mode-retrouvee-palais-galliera

Comtesse Greffulhe photographed by Otto Wegener (around 1886)

e.g.

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

comtesse-greffulhe-by-nadar_med

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

comtesse-greffulhe-by-_med

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

1899-comtesse-greffulhe_med

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

 

 

Advertisements

Illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson

Charles Dana Gibson (1867 – 1944) was an American graphic artist, best known for his creation of the Gibson Girl, an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century.

The artist saw his creation as representing the composite of “thousands of American girls.”The Gibson Girl image combined elements of older American images of caucasian female beauty, such as the “fragile lady” and the “voluptuous woman”. From the “fragile lady” she took the basic slender lines, and a sense of respectability. From the “voluptuous woman” she took a large bust and hips, but was not vulgar or lewd, as previous images of women with large busts and hips had been depicted. From this combination emerged the Gibson Girl, who was tall and slender, yet with ample bosom, hips and buttocks. She had an exaggerated S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. Images of her epitomized the late 19th- and early 20th-century Western preoccupation with youthful features and ephemeral beauty. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffant, pompadour, and chignon (“waterfall of curls”) fashions. The statuesque, narrow-waisted ideal feminine figure was portrayed as being at ease and stylish.

Many models posed for Gibson Girl-style illustrations, including Gibson’s wife, Irene Langhorne who may have been the original model, and was a sister of Viscountess Nancy (Langhorne) Astor. Other models included Evelyn Nesbit. The most famous Gibson Girl was probably the Belgian-American stage actress, Camille Clifford, whose high coiffure and long, elegant gowns that wrapped around her hourglass figure and tightly corseted wasp waist defined the style

024-charles-dana-gibson-theredlist

Charles Dana Gibson, The Gibson Girl, Pen and ink on paper, 12.5 x 9.5 in.

via

theredlist.com

047-charles-dana-gibson-theredlist

Charles Dana Gibson, A daughter of the south, 1909. Pen and ink, 57 x 40 cm

via

theredlist.com

036-charles-dana-gibson-theredlist

Charles Dana Gibson, Well-Dressed Woman, Ink on paper 17 x 12 in.

via

theredlist.com

060-charles-dana-gibson-theredlist

Charles Dana Gibson, Sweetest story ever told, 1910. Pen and ink over graphite under drawing ; 57.7 x 43.5 cm

via

theredlist.com

The_Auction_Block_(1914_book)_-_Gibson_Illustration_1

Charles Dana Gibson pen and ink on paper illustration for Collier’s Weekly; published in the artist’s collection Our Neighbors (1905)

via

wiki

048-charles-dana-gibson-theredlist

Charles Dana Gibson, Patience, 1910

via

theredlist.com

Wonderful Vintage Photos of 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.

Lillian Russel via victorianfashion.soup.io

Lillian Russell via bodylovewellness.com/

Lillian Russel via judgmentofparis.com

Lillian Russell via ekduncan.com

Lillian Russell via judgmentofparis.com

Lillian Russell via judgmentofparis.com

Lillian Russell as fortune teller via primarysourcenexus.org

Genevieve Lantelme – Belle Epoque Beauty

Geneviève “Ginette” Lantelme (Mathilde Hortense Claire Fossey, b. 1883) was a French stage actress, socialite, fashion icon, and courtesan. She frequently collaborated with Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Paquin, two prominent French fashion designers of her day, to produce her memorable clothing ensembles. Lantelme was also known for her voluminous hats, as can be seen in the postcards and other images of her that are collected to this day.

Considered by her contemporaries to be one of the most beautiful women of the Belle Epoque, she is remembered for the mysterious circumstances of her death: on the night of July 24/25, 1911, she fell from the yacht of her husband, Alfred Edwards.

The official verdict was that the actress had drowned as the result of a tragic accident. However, many people speculated that Edwards had murdered his wife. In the autumn of 1911, two French newspapers, La Depéche Parlementaire and La Griffe, published their accusation that Edwards had murdered Lantelme; Edwards sued the publication for libel and won, although both newspapers escaped severe punishment.

lantelme-in-a-big-hat

Geneviève Lantelme in a big hat, photo circa 1910.

via

wordpress.com

lantelme-reutlinger

Geneviève Lantelme by Reutlinger, photo circa 1902.

via

wordpress.com

Ginette Lantelme /Genevieve Lantelme-1910

Geneviève Lantelme, photo circa 1910.

via

tumblr.com

http://vestuarioescenico.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/tumblr_lzwuroiwhk1r5ss2ao1_1280inette-lantelme-en-un-dc3a9shabillc3a9-de-madeleine-vionnet_s-para-la-maison-doucet-1907.png

Genevieve Lantelme in Madeleine Vionnet’s déshabillé,

designed in 1907 at Maison Doucet.

via

wordpress

Dollar Princess Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill)

Lady Randolph Churchill (1854 – 1921), born Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome, was the daughter of a wealthy New York stock broker. She was one of 350 Dollar Princesses marrying into British aristocracy to save their estates.

In 1874 she married Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane. Their son was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

She was part of the Prince of Wales’ set (Queen Victoria’s son) and a close confidante of the man who would become King Edward VII (and who was rumoured to have been one of her lovers). Their crew had a fondness for fast living and tattoos – Jennie had a snake design curling around her wrist (source).

Throughout her life she wore the finest fashions of the age, setting trends in striking creations by Worth and maintained her luxurious standard of living even when running desperately short of funds. She was lavish in the way she lived – her clothes, her affairs, the energy she poured into furthering Winston’s career – and unapologetic, even when society scorned her for marrying men young enough to be her sons (her second husband, George Cornwallis-West was twenty years her junior and her third, Montagu Phippen Porch, was even younger (source).

Lady Randolph Churchill 1875

via

wiki

ladyc

Lady Randolph Churchill

via

picstopin

Lady Randolph Churchill 1877

via

wiki

Lady Randolph Churchill 1895

via

wiki

Lady Randolph Churchill

via

flickr

 

The First “it” Girl – Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit (1884 – 1967) was known to millions before her 16th birthday in 1900. She was the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty.

In the early part of the 20th century, her figure and face was everywhere, appearing in mass circulation newspaper and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items and calendars, making her a cultural celebrity. She was a popular cover face on Vanity FairHarper’s BazaarThe DelineatorWomen’s Home CompanionLadies’ Home Journal and Cosmopolitan.

Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era, James Carroll Beckwith, Frederick S. Church, and notably Charles Dana Gibson, who idealized her as a “Gibson Girl.” She had the distinction of being an early “live model,” in an era when fashion photography as an advertising medium was just beginning its ascendancy.

As a stage performer, and while still a teenager, she attracted the attention of the then 47-year-old architect and New York socialite Stanford White, who became her lover and dedicated benefactor. Nesbit achieved world-wide notoriety when her jealous husband, multi-millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, shot and murdered Stanford White on the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden on the evening of June 25, 1906, leading to what the press would call “The Trial of the Century.” and Evelyn became known as “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.”

In 1955  she was portrayed by Joan Collins in the film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing. Marilyn Monroe had been 20th Century-Fox’s original choice for the role.

EickemeyerEvelyn.Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit by Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr.

via

broadway.cas.sc.edu

Evelyn_Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit by Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr.

via

wiki

bearkskin-rug-romantical-nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit

via

blogspot.com

nesbit1913

Evelyn Nesbit

via

 tumblr

Great Stage Beauty: Miss Mabel Love, “The Pretty Girl of the Postcard”

Mabel Love (1874 – 1953), was a British dancer and stage actress. Love made her stage debut at the age of twelve, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, playing The Rose, in the first stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. She was considered to be one of the great stage beauties of her age, and her career spanned the late Victorian era and Edwardian period.

In March 1889, under the headline “Disappearance of a Burlesque Actress”, The Star newspaper reported that, by then 14-year old, Love had disappeared. It was later reported that she had gone to the Thames Embankment, considering suicide. This publicity served merely to increase the public’s interest in her. When photographer Frank Foulsham had the idea of selling the images of actresses on postcards, Love proved to be a popular subject leading one writer to christen her “the pretty girl of the postcard”. In 1894, Winston Churchill wrote to her asking for a signed photograph.

Over the following 30 years, she starred in a series of burlesques, pantomimes and musical comedies. Among her successes were, as Francoise in La Cigale and as Pepita in Ivan Caryll’s Little Christopher Columbus. Later, she appeared at the Folies Bergère in Paris and in Man and Superman on Broadway. Love retired from the stage in 1918 and, in 1926, she opened a school of dancing in London.

 

NPG x12571; Mabel Love in 'A Modern Don Quixote' by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company

Mabel Love in ‘A Modern Don Quixote’ by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
albumen cabinet card, 1893

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x193897; Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by  Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
postcard print, 1900s

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x193893; Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by  Davidson Brothers

Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by Davidson Brothers
postcard print, 1900s

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x193894; Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by  Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
postcard print, 1900s via

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x193895; Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by  Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Mabel Love by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
postcard print, 1900s

© National Portrait Gallery, London via