Alva Vanderbilt at the Vanderbilt Ball (1883)

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Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt (neé Alva Erskine Smith). 1883. Museum of the City of New York. X2012.96.2.2.Mora (b. 1849). Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt (neé Alva Erskine Smith). 1883. Museum of the City of New York. X2012.96.2.2. via

Ethel Barrymore for “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” (1901)

Ethel Barrymore (1879 – 1959) was regarded as the first “First Lady of the American Theater” she and her brothers, John and Lionel, dominated the American theater in the early 20th century.

In 1901, at age 21, she made her Walnut Street Theatre debut in the play “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”.

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Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

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Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

ca. 1900-1910 --- A portrait of actress Ethel Barrymore in a lovely Edwardian gown. She and her brothers, John and Lionel, dominated the American theater in the early 20th century. --- Image by © CORBIS
 © CORBIS Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

Princess Clara Ward Postcard

Clara Ward (1873 – 1916) was a wealthy American socialite who married a prince from Belgium. Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes.

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Postcard of theater star Clara Ward, ca. 1900s 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 ca. 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 

A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring Princesse Clara Ward

The story of Clara Ward (1873 – 1916) is poorly known today, but in the early 1890s she was the toast of the United States.

She came to the public’s attention in 1889 or early 1890 when it was announced that the distinguished Belgian visitor to the United States, Marie Joseph Anatole Pierre Alphonse de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay, a member of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies, had proposed marriage to the very young, very attractive daughter of a very wealthy family.

That her husband-to-be was more than twice her age, quite poor, and even, perhaps, not very handsome, seems to have been of minor consequence.

They were married on 19 May 1890, in fin-de-siècle Paris. Ward was now properly styled “Princesse de Caraman-Chimay”, but usually went by “Clara, Princess of Chimay”. Americans were ecstatic about their new princess.

Some time after the birth of their second child, probably in 1896, the Prince and Princess Chimay were dining in Paris, at what may be expected to have been a suitably elegant establishment. Present at the restaurant was a Hungarian, Rigó Jancsi, who eked out a living providing Gypsy music.

After a series of secret meetings, Ward and Rigó eloped in December 1896. The Prince and Princesse de Caraman-Chimay were divorced on 19 January 1897. The new couple married, probably in Hungary.

Not too surprisingly, Clara Ward, still usually called the Princess Chimay, soon found her resources dwindling. The never-very-full Chimay coffers were certainly closed to her, and although Ward was resourceful, her American family had to intervene from time to time to straighten out her tangled finances.

Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes. She called her art-form her poses plastiques.

Perhaps the income from this odd occupation was sufficient for the couple to live reasonably well. The idyll was not to last, Rigó being unfaithful to her. They were divorced fairly soon after their marriage, either shortly before or after Ward met her next true love, one Peppino Ricciardo, sometimes stated to have been Spanish, but who was most likely Italian. He is believed to have been a waiter whom she met on a train.

They married in 1904, but Peppino Ricciardo probably did not last long. The timing is vague, but Ward’s next true love, and her last husband, is thought to have been a station manager of the little Italian railroad that helped visitors tour Mount Vesuvius, a Signore Cassalota. Ward is believed to have still been married to her fourth husband when she died in Padua, Italy, on 9 December 1916, aged 43. There was a rumor that she died a pauper with nothing left except a few jewels. But the American Consul at Venice stated publicly that she “was in possesion of a very large income and lived in a manner befitting its possessor

In her lifetime she had spent much time in both the society and gossip columns of two continents. She had been widely known, envied and admired, desired, loathed and reviled. She was often photographed, and featured on many postcards during the Edwardian period, sometimes in a pose plastique and sometimes in more or less conventional dress.

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A young Clara Ward

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Clara Ward, postcard via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

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Clara ward via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

Clara Ward with Rigo Jancsi – Triomphe de la Femme, 1905 via

Clara Ward, by Léopold-Emile Reutlinger, ca. 1905 via

 

Superb Vintage Photos of Beautiful Edwardian Era Hairstyles

Edwardian hairstyles were largely dictated by the millinery trade. The hairstyles had a soft, fluffy and loose fluidity about them. Hair was dressed off the face, with the exception of a fringe, and hairstyles rarely had a parting.

The defining Edwardian hairstyle for women was the pompadour. After the Pompadour´s initial popularity among fashionable women in the 18th century, it was revived as part of the Gibson Girl look in the 1890s and continued to be in vogue until World War I.

Other hairstyles were fx. the Low Pompadour (for everyday), Hat Pin Hairstyles (for the late Edwardian Cartwheel hat), the Gibson Tuck, the Side-Swirl (the style allowed women to easier wear the picture hats), the bouffant and the chignon. Usually the full Pompadour hairstyle was kept for special occasions. In the early part of the Edwardian era it was accompanied by the “picture” hat; hats that were worn high on the head and heavily decorated with fabric, feathers or imitation flowers or fruit.

The  Pompadour hairstyle could be dressed in all manner of styles, but the basic concept is hair swept upwards from the face and worn high over the forehead, and sometimes upswept around the sides and back as well. The style could feature soft coils and fuzzy curled fringes. It could be decorated with a bun, chignon or knot, depending on what was in vogue at the time and the occasion. Chignons tended to sit low on the nape, or at the back of the head. A bun could also be situated on the crown. A knot is hair that is twisted to form a rope, and then coiled to form a shape. The different shapes had names, for example the Apollo Kno, the Psyche Knot and the Grecian Knot. A topknot sits high on the head.

Evelyn Nesbit, who posed for illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, and became known as the first “Gibson Girl.” Gibson’s drawings of women represented the feminin ideal of the time via

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The Soft Pompadour and Psyche Knot. From Girls Own Paper and Woman’s magazine, 1911 via

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Gibson Girls with Pompadour hair via

After the Victorian era hair got bigger and bigger via

Actress Gabrielle Ray´s hairstyle fits her large decorated hat, 1906 via

Edwardian lady with big frizzy hair via

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Miss Ethel Oliver with big Edwardian hair via

Nancy Astor, 1908. beautiful portrait.

Nancy Astor with a knot, 1908 via

Vintage Lundborg’s Perfume Ads (1895)

Lundborg’s Perfumery was founded in 1850 by a Swedish immigrant, John Marlie Lundborg who came to the United States and settled in Hudson, New Jersey. He left Sweden early in life and was a reported to be a fine botanist and chemist, who had a great love for flowers, and “possessed a peculiar gift duplicating their perfume”. Concocting perfume was not only a hobby, but proved to be lucrative and was turned into a business.

He sold an interest in his business to Richard D. Young in 1872 who purchased the recipes, trademarks, and good will from their inventor. By 1873, the company was renamed Young, Ladd & Coffin (source)

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 Ad Vio-Violet Lundborg Perfume Ladd & Coffin NYC, 1895 via

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Ad Lundborgs Perfume Ladd & Coffin 24 Barclay St, 1895 via

A Collection of Gibson Girls 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

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

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

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

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

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

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Charles Dana Gibson, Patience, 1910 via