This cabinet card portrait features an unknown actress in a provocative pose sitting on a swing. An exposed leg and lacy undergarments propel this photograph into risque territory. The curly haired young woman flashes a terrific smile at the camera. The photographer of this image is the Sazerac studio which was located at the “Hotel Prive” in Paris, France. No information could be located about Mr. Sazerac but one can easily find real photo postcard portraits of French show girls that were produced by his studio. Sazerac cabinet cards are less common.




Published in: on May 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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marie legault_0001French theater actress, Marie Legault, is the subject of this cabinet card photograph by internationally acclaimed celebrity photographer Charles Reutlinger. This image was produced in Reutlinger’s Paris studio in 1880. To view other Reutlinger photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Reutlinger”. Marie Francoise (Maria) Legault (1858-1905) entered the Paris Conservatory in 1872. That same year she finished second in the comedy competition. She was just fourteen years old at the time. She was awarded a stipend to continue her studies and she won the competition the following year. During her theatrical career she appeared at a number of venues including the Gymnase, the Palais-Royal, the Vaudeville, the Comedie-Francaise, and the Theatre Michel in St. Petersburg. Legault created the role of Roxane in Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1872) and of Marie Louise in L’Aiglon (1900) with Sarah Bernhard. Her obituary appears in the New York Times (1905).



This cabinet card photograph features a young girl posed to look like a cherub. This angelic child has wings and a whimsical expression. The photographer is Charles Reutlinger who operated a studio in Paris, France. Reutlinger was quite renowned, especially for the many wonderful portraits he produced featuring beautiful European actresses and dancers. To view other photographs by Reutlinger, click on the category “Photographer: Reutlinger”.  I can not identify the “T” shaped band-aid looking object on the child’s right shoulder. Hopefully, a cabinet card gallery visitor will leave a comment explaining the mystery object.

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  
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The young girl in this photograph looks like the American little girls who get all “dolled up” for beauty contests and the results of those efforts are that the girls look much older than their years. Writing on the reverse of this image indicates that the girl in the photograph is ten years old and is named Traudi. Fortunately, Traudi isn’t made up (cosmetically) to look inappropriately provocative like many of the contestants in the aforementioned beauty pageants. However, our “Little Miss Sunshine”  looks well beyond her years in this photograph. According to the previous owner of this image, the subject is wearing a fancy “Rokoko” costume. She is also holding a fan. This cabinet card may or may not be an example of  “Rokoko” fashion. I’m in way over my head. Fortunately, a number of visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery are very knowledgeable about the history of fashion and hopefully they will leave a comment confirming or dispelling the Rokoko theory. By matter of explanation, (thank you Wikipedia), Rokoko refers to the late baroque periods artistic movement and style that had impact on fine arts architecture, decoration, interior design, and fashion. The movement developed in Paris, France, and was “more jocular, florid, and graceful” than the baroque influence. The photographer of this image is J. B. Hiebl and his studio was located in Munich, Germany.

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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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.


This cabinet card features the lovely Conchita Gelabert, soprano and operetta actress. Marie “Conchita” Gelabert was born in Madrid in 1857 and died in Paris in 1922. She was educated in the Paris Conservatory of Music. An article in the New York Times (1922) announced her death. She was described as a “Spanish Comic Opera singer. who for many years was one of the most celebrated of Paris stars”. The article states that Gelabert “died today alone and forgotten”. Apparently, she had left the stage in 1890 and went into seclusion for the rest of her life. The cause of her abandoning her career and becoming an isolate, was an unhappy love affair. The article credits Gelabert with creating many roles, including “The Beautiful Person”and “The Grand Mogul”. This portrait was photographed by Chalot and Company of Paris, France. Ms. Gelabert is a stage beauty with eyes and an expression that can best be described as playful. She is wearing an interesting hat and well adorned with jewelry. Her dress is a bit risque but by Paris standards, this is a tame photograph.  The photographer of this image, Isadore Alphonse Chalot was one of the subjects of an article appearing in the American Journal of Photography (1890). The article was entitled “Photographers in Paris- Their Studios and Workshops”.  SOLD


Three young women pose for their graduation portrait in Paris, Kentucky. Judging their age by their appearance, the girls are likely graduating from high school or college. It is interesting to note that each girls graduation gown is slightly different from the others. It is also notable that there is no backdrop in this image; the photographer used curtains instead. Perhaps the photograph was taken outside of the photographer’s studio and he took the curtains with him to the site of the graduation. This image was produced by a photographer named Gibson. Research reveals no additional biographical information concerning Mr. Gibson.

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card features an attractive young woman posed holding a book. The woman is nicely dressed and has a lovely figure. Her great figure is, no doubt, assisted by her tight corset. The book she is holding is entitled “Grifting“. The definition of grifting is “engaging in petty swindling”. What is a nice girl like the girl in this image doing with such a sensational book? The most likely reason she has possession of that particular title is that; it was there in the studio. The book likely belonged to the photographer. The studio that produced this photograph was the Aime Dupont gallery. Dupont (1842-1900) founded his photography business in 1886 in New York City, New York. He was formerly a sculptor and he was of Belgian origin. His American wife, Etta Greer, was also a photographer. She was well respected for he work as a portraitist of opera singers in Paris, France. She was educated in Paris and spent much of her childhood there. She also met and married Dupont in Paris. The couple was very talented and they became very popular as portrait photographers in New York. Among their society and celebrity clients were many singers who were appearing in New York. After Dupont’s death, his wife, and later his son (Albert), operated the studio. His wife kept the name of the studio the same, after the death of her husband. In 1906, the Metropolitan Opera hired its own official  photographer, resulting in diminished portrait work in that sector. The studio went bankrupt in 1920.  A couple of interesting questions about this photograph remain unanswered. Is the subject of this photograph someone famous in society or the performing arts? Who was the photographer, was it Aimee Dupont, or his wife, Etta?


This cabinet card is a postmortem photograph of a young girl. The image is upsetting and sad, but served as a remembrance of a family member for their grief stricken family. Note the flowers and cross lying on the child’s bed and the religious statues and candles on the side table.   The photographer of this cabinet card was R. Dechavannes, whose studio was located in Paris, France. To view other photographs by Dechavannes, click on the category “Photographer: Dechavannes”. Hopefully, visitors to the cabinet card gallery will not find this image offensive. A website  called “Ostrobogulous Cackleberries”, has an interesting article about the practice of postmortem photography. The writer states that during the Victorian era, photographing the recently deceased was “extremely prevalent”. The author points out that the practice existed before the invention of the camera. Instead of photographing the dead, artists painted their portraits immediately following their death. In many cases, the postmortem photo was the only image a family possessed of the departed family member. Many of the Victorian memorial photographs were of infants and children. The mortality rate of children during that time was very high. The writer offers a description of how the dead were posed and there seems to be a great deal of approaches to the practice. Postmortem images could be full body or facial close-ups. Coffins were not frequently included in the picture. The dead were often posed as if they were sleeping and sometimes were presented as life-like. In some photos they were braced or tied into chairs or propped up against other family members to look as alive as possible. According to the article, the popularity of postmortem photography faded in the early twentieth century. Funerals moved from the home parlor tot the funeral parlor. Society stopped “embracing mortality” and we became the death denying culture of today.


This cabinet card captures Alice Marot sitting on a window sill in Benque’s photographic studio in Paris, France. Alice Marot was a high class prostitute. She appeared in “The Pretty Women of Paris”, a privately printed guide to Paris’s best courtesans and prostitutes. The guide provided names, addresses, qualities, and faults for each women. According to the directory, Marot could be found a 4 Rue de Marigan. The guide describes Marot as a “sprightly fair, little whore” who had been quite lucky to rise above a checkered career on the provincial stages. When she came to Paris, she utilized the Palais Royal Theatre to enlarge the circle of her lovers. She was considered by other members of “the army of  cupid” to be a threat because she had a propensity to “tumble on her back” at all hours of the day and night. Benque’s studio was located at 33, Rue Boissy D’Anglas. M. M. Benque was a well known celebrity photographer.