RAQUEL MELLER : PRETTY SPANISH SINGER AND FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of Spanish singer and actress, Raquel Meller (1888-1962). She was an international star in the 1920’s and 1930’s. She sang the original versions of well known songs such as “La Violetera” and “El Relicario”. Raquel Meller was loved by her fans. Imagine this scene. It is 1928 and Roscoe Arbuckle was appearing on the stage in France. Although he was blacklisted from films, he was relatively successful on stage. Arbuckle was a successful comedian and film actor. He discovered Bob Hope and Buster Keaton. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and was one of the most popular silent film stars of the 1910’s. In 1921 his star faded after being brought to criminal trial three times for the alleged rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. After two hung jury trials, he was acquitted with the help of Buster Keaton’s testimony for the defense. Due to the scandal surrounding his trial, Arbuckle’s career was thrown off track and he had a much harder time finding work in films. Now, back to that stage in Paris. Fatty made the poor choice to include in his act an imitation of Raquel Meller selling violets. Meller was beloved in Europe. Besides being charismatic and beautiful, she created an art form of the “cuple genre”; which was a popular risque Spanish theatre song style sung in cabaret theater. Sarah Bernhardt had labelled her a genious and Charlie Chaplin used the score of her song “La Violetera” in his classic “City Lights” (1931). Critics had called her “imperious, ruthless, lovable, funny, temperamental, witty and totally egomaniac”. Arbuckle was booed, hooted at, and heckled for his misdeed of mocking Raquel Meller. During one of his performances the police had to be called to quell the audience riot. Here is some background of Miss Meller. She was born in Aragon, Spain. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother ran a grocery store. Her family was wealthy until losing their money during Spain’s civil wars. She and her family moved to Barcelona when Raquel was four years of age. Her father died when she was nine years old. She was was placed with an Aunt who was a nun and lived in a Convent. When she got older, she was asked to become a nun, precipitating her escaping from the convent. Raquel went back to Barcelona where she worked as a seamstress, embroidering the robes of the clergy. The story goes that she sang as she worked, and her talent drew crowds outside the dressmaker’s shop. At age 13, she sang at a small cabaret in Valencia. She then came under the tutelage of a famous Spanish singer, Marta Oliver. In 1911, she made her grand debut in Barcelona. In 1919 she married a Guatamalan journalist and diplomat. That same year she held concerts in France, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and appeared in her first film. In 1922, she obtained a divorce. Her most successful film was probably “Carmen” (1926). She was an international star and appeared on the cover of a 1926 issue of Time magazine. Meller canceled two trips to the United States where she had scheduled performances. One of these cancellations had to do with the ocean liner company’s refusal to book a deluxe suite for her five Pekingese dogs. The third time was the charm, and she traveled to the United States and did a six city tour which included sixteen concerts in New York. In the 1930’s Meller lived in France where her friends included Maurice Chevalier and Sarah Bernhardt. Miss Bernhardt described Meller as the “greatest actress in Europe-after myself”. After the late 1930’s, Meller left performing until appearing in a film in both 1957 and 1958. The IMDb credits Meller with ten film appearances. Meller was married twice, and both marriages were short lived, ending in divorce. She was the older sister of actress Tina Meller, who appeared in five motion pictures between 1919 and 1929. Raquel died after suffering a heart attack in 1962. One hundred thousand people witnessed her funeral procession in Barcelona. She is still honored today. Streets in France and Spain bear her name and a statue of her is in a plaza named after her in Barcelona. In her obituary, appearing in the New York Times, Raquel Meller is described as a “shining example of artistry, style, and press agent’s hocum -sometimes it was difficult to separate the ingredients”. The obituary cites one of the newspaper’s theater critics who said Meller’s voice was “frequently rough and shrill” but that her great distinction was her “extraordinarily magnetic personality”. This vintage portrait postcard was published by Cinemagazine. The photograph of Miss Meller was taken by Pierre Apers. He was a talented French photographer active in the early twentieth century. His studio was in Paris and he specialized in portraiture. This vintage portrait postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition. Note the video profile of Raquel Meller that is found below.

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Video produced by the Biblioteca Nacional de España

MISS SPAIN : CONTESTANT IN THE MISS EUROPE BEAUTY CONTEST

miss spain

miss spain 1The pretty young woman seen in this vintage real photo postcards is a contestant in the 1931 Miss Europe beauty contest. She represented Spain in the competition. Her name was Ermelina Carreno (1912-1999). She became Miss Spain when she won the competition representing the region Castilla-La Mancha. A book about her was written by Enrique Sanchez Lubian and published in 2009. The book was entitled “Ermelin: The Beauty That Gave Birth To The Republic: Origins Of The Misses Contests In Spain, 1929-1932”. The Miss Europe contest was established by a French journalist in 1927. Most of the women in this event had won their own country’s national beauty contest, and used the Miss Europe contest as a warm-up for the Miss World pageant. This postcard was published by the well known and acclaimed photographer, Alfred Noyer. His Paris studio operated between 1910 and the 1940’s. Miss Carreno’s portrait was photographed by St Mano studio. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans)..

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miss spain 2

PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN IN BARCELONA, SPAIN

italian pretty girl

italian pretty girl 2 The year was 1924. The place was Barcelona, Spain. A pretty young woman, probably a teenager, went to an unidentified photography studio and had her portrait taken. She is attractively dressed and wearing a pair of beautiful long dangling earrings. There is a dedication, written in Spanish, on the reverse of the photo.  This vintage photograph measures about 4″ x 5 5/8″ and is in very good condition (see scans).

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$40.00

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italian pretty girl 1

Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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THREE SIBLINGS AND A THREE WHEEL SCOOTER IN VALENCIA, SPAIN

three-spanish-kids

This vintage photograph is difficult to categorize. It looks like a cabinet card image and is mounted on stiff board cabinet card paper. However, the reverse of the image has divided postcard printing including a stamp box.  The three children, in this photograph are adorable despite their serious expressions. It is extremely likely that they are siblings. Note how the oldest child has a good grip on her little brother’s shoulders in a show of physical support and affection. The children are wearing nice but not fancy clothing. The little boy is standing on a three wheel scooter. Both girls are wearing necklaces with a charm as well as hair bows. The photograph was taken at the Julio D. Derrey studio. Printed advertising on the verso indicates that the studio was located in Valencia, Spain’s third to largest city.

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Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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AN ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL AND HER SPOOKY DOLL IN BARCELONA, SPAIN

spanish girl f

An adorable little girl wearing a cute dress and large hair bow poses for her portrait alongside her “spooky doll”. There may be a better word than “spooky” to describe the doll but the doll’s face is so lifelike that it it’s a bit creepy. The doll may have a haunted look but the little girl is a sweetheart. This photograph was taken by the Roe studio in Barcelona, Spain.

spanish girl

Published in: on March 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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TWO LOVELY YOUNG SISTERS WEARING INTERESTING AND UNUSUAL ATTIRE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

spanish kids

The two cute and gorgeously dressed girls featured in this vintage real photo postcard are presumably sisters. I am not sure how to best describe their dresses and hats so I will just label their attire as “unusual and interesting”. Hopefully, someone informed about fashion history, will leave a comment with further explanation. This photo postcard was produced in Spain.

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Published in: on September 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FAMILY PORTRAIT OF PARENTS AND THEIR FOUR CHILDREN TAKEN IN AN ALLEY SOMEWHERE IN SPAIN

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This cabinet card portrait immigrated to the Cabinet Card Gallery from Spain and the photograph was likely taken there. The image features a set of parents and their four daughters. The youngest child is sitting in a wood wagon and is accompanied by a doll. It is not clear in what setting this photograph was taken. Is the family inside a studio, or are they actually being photographed in an alley? I’m guessing that they are in a studio and the photographer has created an outside scene within his studio. Be sure to note the family members great hats.

Published in: on July 6, 2014 at 11:55 am  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A SPANISH WOMAN IN PALMA DE MALLORCA

SPANISH LADY_0003This image features a well dressed woman posing for her portrait at the Amadeo studio in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Amadeo’s gallery was located at 19 Calle San Nicolas. The subject of this photograph is unidentified. She is wearing jewelry and a nice hat. Her arms seem to be covered by translucent lace material that resemble stockings, but worn on the arms. It is clear that I need some major assistance from the cabinet card gallery research department (comprised of the site’s visitors) in order to explain the woman’s undersleeves. It is unknown whether the woman in this photograph was a visitor or resident of Palma. Palma de Mallorca is a major city and capital of the province of the Balearic Islands in Spain.

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm  Comments (3)  
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