Impressive Pioneer Photography by Hill & Adamson (1843 – 1848)

In 1843 artist David Octavius Hill joined engineer Robert Adamson in partnership at Rock House on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland.

During their brief four year partnership, between 1843-1848, Hill & Adamson produced the first substantial body of self-consciously artistic work using the newly invented medium of photography.

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David Octavius Hill, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), 1843 via

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Miss Matilda Rigby, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The bird-cage, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848)  via

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A Discussion,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), via

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The Letter, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Mr Laing or Laine, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Piper and Drummer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The Scott Monument,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), about 1845 via

Whistler´s Brilliant Portraits

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was an American artist, active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake”. His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol was apt, for it combined both aspects of his personality—his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative.

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Jo by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1861 via

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Weary by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1863 via

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Reading by Lamplight by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1858 via

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Annie Haden by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1860 via

Count Burckhardt published 1862 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Count Burckhardt by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1862 via

 

Marvelous Portraits by Edward Weston

Edward Henry Weston (1886 – 1958) was a 20th-century American photographer. He has been called:

“one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…” and “one of the masters of 20th century photography.”

Over the course of his 40-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a:

“quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography”

because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years.

Weston was born in Chicago and moved to California when he was 21. He knew he wanted to be a photographer from an early age, and initially his work was typical of the soft focus pictorialism that was popular at the time. Within a few years, however, he abandoned that style and went on to be one of the foremost champions of highly detailed photographic images.

In 1947 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he stopped photographing soon thereafter. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images.

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Edward Weston, Portrait of Ruth St. Denis, 1916 via

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Edward Weston, Unidentified Woman, 1920 via

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Tina Modotti, Glendale. Photograph by Edward Weston, 1921 via

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Edward Weston. Frida Kahlo, 1930 via

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Xenia Kashevaroff photographed by Edward Weston in 1931. This portrait is now in the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art via

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Edward Weston, Charis Wilson, 1941 The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston via

Amazing Vintage Surreal Glamour by photographer Angus McBean

Angus McBean (8 June 1904 – 9 June 1990) was a Welsh photographer, set designer and cult figure associated with surrealism.

Two figures have prevented McBean from gaining more fame: Cecil Beaton (thanks to his lavish lifestyle and work for Vogue and the British Royal Family); and David Bailey, who much later (1960s) was close to Cecil Beaton both personally and in terms of style.

McBean did not enjoy this level of fame either in his life or after death, even though he was arguably the better technically and artistically.

Additionally McBean’s focus on the world of theatre (particularly London’s West End) did not give him international recognition.

In 2007, seven original colour transparencies (slides) of his photographs for the Beatles album cover Please Please Me by McBean were accidentally thrown in the bin at the headquarters of EMI.

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Marlene Dietrich, “No Highway in the Sky” by Angus Mcbean Pinewood Studios, 1951 via

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Audrey Hepburn by Angus Mcbean via

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Vivien Leigh as Aurora by Angus McBean, 1938 via

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 Hermione Baddeley by Angus McBean, 1938 Gelatin via

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Marika Rivera by Angus Mcbean via

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Dorothy Dickson by Angus Mcbean, 1938 via fotographiaonline.com via

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Beatrice Lillie by Angus McBean, 1940s 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

 

 

Portraits of Alma Mahler, The most Beautiful Girl in Vienna

A socialite and amateur composer known for her beauty and verve, Alma Mahler (1879 – 1964) was married to composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel. She also undertook a strong flirtation with Gustav Klimt and affairs with numerous artists. She is often regaled as the definitive femme fatale of the early 20th century (source).

When she married Gustav Mahler in 1902, he was nineteen years her senior and the director of the Vienna Court Opera. The terms of Alma’s marriage with Gustav were that she would abandon her own interest in composing. Artistically stifled herself, she embraced her role as a loving wife and supporter of Gustav’s music.

Later in their marriage, after becoming severely depressed in the wake of her daughter´s death, she began an affair with the young architect Walter Gropius (later head of the Bauhaus), whom she met during a rest at a spa. On seeking advice from Sigmund Freud, who cited Mahler’s curtailing of Alma’s musical career as a major marital obstacle, and following the emotional crisis in their marriage after Gustav’s discovery of the affair, Gustav began to take a serious interest in Alma’s musical compositions, regretting his earlier dismissive attitude and taking promotional actions, including editing and re-orchestrating some of her works.

Upon his urging, and under his guidance, she prepared five of her songs for publication (they were issued in 1910, by Gustav’s own publisher, Universal Edition). Alltogether she was the composer of at least seventeen songs for voice and piano.

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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Alma Mahler

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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