VERA VASILYEVNA KHOLODNAYA : BEAUTIFUL RUSSIAN SILENT FILM STAR : VICTIM OF THE SPANISH FLU

This vintage real photo postcard features Russian actress Vera Vasilyevna Kholodnaya (1893-1919). Sometimes she is referred to as Holodnaja). She was the first star of Russian silent film. The number of films that she appeared in, is unknown. It is estimated the number of appearances is somewhere between fifty and one hundred. It is unfortunate that only five of her films survived the passage of time. She was born in Poltava which was part of the Russian Empire, and is now located in the Ukraine. At the age of two, she moved to Moscow to live with her grandmother. As a child, she fantasized about becoming a classical ballerina. She eventually enrolled in the Bolshoi Theatre ballet school From early childhood, she participated in family theater productions, While attending her school prom to celebrate her graduation she met Vladimir Kholodny, whom she married in 1910. He is known as one of Russia’s first race car drivers. The pair had two children. In 1908, after seeing actress Vera Komissarzhevskaya in a stage role, she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in films. She sought out Vladimir Gardin, a major Russian film director, and he gave her a minor role in Anna Karenina. In 1915, film director Yevgeni Bauer was searching for an actress who possessed great beauty. After meeting Vera Kholodnaya, he found the enchantress that he was looking for. Bauer’s film was a resounding success. He then made a second film starring Kholodnaya. These two Bauer films made Vera a major celebrity. She soon became known as “the Queen of Screen” and had great successes with other films. By 1918, she was a film phenom. When Russia entered World War I, her husband joined the military. She participated in charity concerts to support the soldiers and their families. It is reported that she was “worshipped” by soldiers. By the time of the Russian Revolution (1917), a new Kholodnaya film was released every three weeks and she continued to experience acclaim and success. Around this time, the actress moved with her film company to Odessa. She died there, at age 25, during the 1918 flu pandemic.This version of the flu, was known as the “Spanish Flu” and it infected 500 million people around the world between 1918 and 1920. Estimates are that between 50 and 100 million people died during the pandemic. This portrait postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this Vintage Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #2947

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$23.50

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #2947

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YOUNG BALLERINA IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

ballerina

An adorable young girl wearing ballet shoes, poses for her portrait at the Noble Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The photographer posed her as if she was dancing. The bright eyed young girl has a terrific smile. The photographer of this image is Thomas Frederick Noble (1866-1932) and he operated a photography studio at various addresses in Grand Rapids. His career spanned between 1890 and 1931. The 1920 US census found him living in Grand Rapids with his wife Pauline (age 50) and two of their children, Fred (age 17) and Pauline (age 15). The 1900 US census reveals that he also had a daughter named Lily. Noble died in 1932 and is buried in Graceland Memorial Park in Grand Rapids.

Published in: on August 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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CARLOTTA BRIANZA: CELEBRATED ITALIAN BALLERINA (PORTRAIT BY FALK)

This cabinet card portrait features pretty celebrated Italian ballerina, Carlotta Brianza (1867-c.1933). Note that the jewelry that is hanging from her necklace is shaped like a horse. It is also worth mention that this photograph is somewhat risque for the era. Brianza was born in Milan, Italy and was the prima ballerina at La Scala before going to Russia. She created a sensation in Luigi Manzotti’s ballet “Excelsior” as the Spirit of Light. She went to Russia in 1887 after completing a US tour. She was acclaimed for her work in “Sleeping Beauty” and “Esmerelda”. She returned to the west in 1891 when she became the prima ballerina for the Vienna Opera. She died in Paris under suspicious circumstances that suggest she committed suicide. This portrait was produced by celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk of New York City. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

TWO RISQUE IMAGES OF A LOVELY BALLERINA PLAYING CUPID (TWO-SIDED CABINET CARD PHOTOGRAPH)

This cabinet card is quite unusual in that it has photographic images on both sides of the card. A very pretty ballet dancer is from the Alhambra Ballet production of Cupid is pictured in each image. In one photograph her legs are crossed while in the second photograph her legs are open and her undergarment is visible through her transparent tutu. The cabinet card is risque for it’s era. The Alhambra was a theatre in London, England. It was opened in 1854 as “The Royal Panopticon”. A circus ring was added and it was reopened in 1858 as the Alhambra. The theatre stage hosted music hall acts, aerial acts, ballet, light opera, and other events. The theatre was closed and demolished in 1936. This cabinet card features a dancer from the ballet, Cupid which opened at the Alhambra on 5/24/1886. The principal dancer in this production was Emma Bessone, and research reveals that the ballerina in this image is likely Emma Bessone. She was an Italian dancer who trained at La Scala and became prima ballerina for both the Maryinsky and Bolshoi companies in Russia. The photographer of this cabinet card was Samuel A. Walker whose studio was located in London.