This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a pretty performer named Debry. She was photographed by a famous photographer with the last name of Nadar. The question exists whether the photographer is Paul Nadar (1856-1939) or Gaspard-Felix Tournacon (AKA Nadar) (1820-1910). This postcard dates back to circa 1904, and by that time the elder Nadar was 84 years old and not active in studio photography. Therefore the photographer was the younger Nadar. Paul was the son of Gaspard-Felix. Both were famous in the field of photography but their talent stretched to other disciplines. Paul’s talent extended to art, printing, and writing. In 1874, Paul managed his father’s Paris studio.  In around 1885 their relationship fractured. However the following year, the two collaborated on what is thought to be the first photo-interview in history. The subject of the interview was a prominent 101 year-old chemist and color theorist. That same year, Paul began photographing from a hot-air balloon. Paul liked experimenting and this led to him studying artificial lighting and developing a patented projection system for animating still pictures. Kodak named him their agent in France in 1893…. Gaspard Felix (G.F.), in addition to being a photographer, was a caricaturist, journalist, novelist, balloonist and advocate of manned flight. Portraits by G.F. can be found in a number of national museum collections. He opened his photography studio in Paris in 1854. He was a celebrity photographer (Actors, Politicians, Writers, Painters, and Musicians). He attracted many famous sitters because he was considered the best photographer in France. He was no fan of studio props. He preferred natural daylight. F.G. was most interested in focusing his photography on his subject’s face.He wanted the subjects to wear dark clothing for their portraits and often hid their hands from the camera. Although, he photographed many women, he preferred to photograph men. He believed that women believe “the images are too true to nature to please” them; even the most beautiful of the women. He once wrote that the most vain portrait sitters were actors and the second vainest group was soldiers. Ballooning was another area of F.G’s interest.  He was involved with writer Jules Verne in an organization supporting the development of “air machines”. In the 1850’s G.F. was experimenting taking aerial photographs. During the siege of Paris in 1870, Nadar was a principal in organizing balloon flights to do reconnaissance and carry the mail, creating the first airmail service. This postcard portrait was part of a series (no.769).  (SOLD)



ILBERT_0002This Cabinet Card presents a bit of a mystery.  The photograph is by famed French photographer, P. Nadar of Paris. The subject of the photograph is a mystery. The reverse of the card has the name “Ilbert”  written in two places. In addition the word “Chanteuse” also appears. Is she an opera singer? Is she a nightclub singer? The woman is very stylish and is wearing a fur and interesting hair clip. Hopefully, a viewer will leave a comment with some identifying information.                                                    ADDENDUM: This photograph entered into the cabinet card gallery in 2009. Since then there have been a number of cabinet card gallery visitors that have left comments concerning the identity of the subject of this  image. There has been some disagreement, but at least two visitors have identified this performer as being Yvette Guilbert (1867-1944). To follow the discussion about identification, check out the comment section below. Now back to Mlle Guilbert. Born as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, she began singing as a child but worked at a Paris department store model when she turned sixteen. She also took acting and voice lesson and in 1886 she began working as an actress. She debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She was soon singing at a number of popular clubs before starring in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. Over time she began to sing a lot of  monologue “patter songs”. Often the lyrics were risque, even raunchy. Her song frequently featured tragedy and poverty. Guilbert was audacious and audiences ate it up. She was celebrated in France, England and the United States. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert. Later in her career, she appeared in silent movies, talkies and made recordings. She also wrote books about the Belle Epoque. It is interesting to note that Nadar, the photographer of the mystery chanteuse also photographed Yvette Guilbert. A Nadar photograph of Mlle Guilbert is part of the collection at the National Library of France. A copy of that image can be found below.




Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , , ,


nadar11This terrific theatrical cabinet card was photographed by famed French photographer P. Nadar.  Mlle Tusini is seen with Lydia Borel in the production of La Chercheuse D’esprit. The play is a comic opera by Favart. The play premiered in 1864. The actresses are spectacularly dressed in this great image.

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,