ELISE DE VERE: PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL SOUBRETTE BY REUTLINGER

Elise De Vere was indeed a very pretty woman and her pose in this image can be described as risque. She poses in this cabinet card photograph for famed celebrity photographer, Charles Reutlinger. Reutlinger’s studio was located at 21 Boulevard in Paris, France. The photograph was published in 1899.  Small print located at the bottom of the reverse of the card states R. Dechavannes. He may be in fact the actual photographer of the portrait. Perhaps the photograph was published by Reutlinger but not actually photographed by him. The facts concerning the role of Reutlinger and Dechavannes are not clear. To view other photographs by Dechavannes, click on the category “Photographer: Dechavannes”. To view other photographs by Reutlinger, click on the category “Photographer: Reutlinger”. Elise De Vere was an English actress/singer who performed in music halls and operas around 1900. The previous year she had won second place in a beauty contest at the Paris Olympia Theatre. She was described at the contest as a “Chanteuse Excentrique”  (Eccentric Singer). Around 1900 she was a stage diva in Europe and America. In 1903-1904 she performed in the Flo Ziegfeld Broadway opera “Red Feather” which played at the Lyrical Theatre and then the Grand Opera Theatre. In announcing De Vere’s arrival in America to play in “Red Feather”,  The New York Times (1903) writes that although she was a Parisienne, she spoke excellent English (shouldn’t have been a surprise, she was English). The article added that De Vere had recently learned to sing in German. In a later article, the New York Times (1903) labelled De Vere as a “Soubrette” in the “Red Feather”. A soubrette is a stock character in opera or theatre. A soubrette is frequently a comedic character who is often portrayed as vain, girlish, mischievous, gossipy and light hearted.

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