otto sarony

This portrait of a lovely young couple was produced by the Otto Sarony studio in New York City. Otto Sarony (1850-1903) was the son of celebrated celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony. Otto was quite talented in his own right and he also was a photographer of the rich and famous. It is impossible to know the extent of Otto’s work because he began directing photographic sessions that appeared under his fathers signature beginning in the late 1880’s. It has been reported that he was involved with every studio portrait from 1893 until his father’s death in 1896. Otto was the sole owner of the studio from 1896 until near the end of 1898. In 1898 he sold his business and all of his equipment and supplies to Jonathan Burrow. Also included in the sale was the trade-mark “Sarony”. In 1902 Otto Sarony sold the rights to his name (Otto Sarony) to photographic businessman Theodore C Marceau and took on the role of Marceau’s manager from the end of 1902 until late 1903. At the time Sarony was looking to fund his yachting activities. After Sarony’s death in 1903 the Otto Sarony Company remained as a brand until World War I.  Since the Otto Sarony Company was producing photographs long after Sarony’s death, one must keep in mind that many photographs with the Sarony label were not taken by Sarony. This fact makes it difficult for those who collect Sarony images.  On a side note, Otto Sarony was an athlete and a founding member of the New York Athletic Club. To view other photographs by Otto Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony (Otto).




Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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cute girl

A little girl dressed in big girl clothing looks adorable as she posed in the Marceau & Bellsmith studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. The child is wearing an elaborate hat and a large collar pin. She is also wearing a very cute expression which includes a half smile. Colonel Theodore C. Marceau (1859-1922) operated a studio at 285 Fifth Avenue in New York City. The studio was known for producing many celebrity portraits. Marceau was also known for pioneering the creation of national chains of photographic studios in the 1880’s. He became nationally known at the ripe young age of twenty-two when he served as a US government phot0grapher in Santiago, Chile. He was part of an 1882 expedition that recorded the movement of Venus. Later, he served on the staff of Governor Foraker of Ohio, then Governor Markham of California. After leaving public service he lived in Cincinnati (1885-1886) and executed a business strategy that he repeated several times over the years. He would capitalize and build photographic studios, take on a talented local photographers as a partner, build the business, and then sell it to his partner. His first venture took place in Cincinnati and his partner was Randolph “Ralph” P. Bellsmith. The pair produced the photograph seen above. Marceau eventually had branches in Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Boston. His partner in San Francisco was Frederick Bushnell who later built his own chain of studios on the west coast. In 1891 Marceau married a widow named Amanda Fiske and their marriage had a deleterious effect on Marceau’s finances and emotional well being. The marriage was of short duration and Marceau took on his wife’s debts and was rewarded by her habitual infidelity. Marceau took custody of his son and became embroiled in publicity generating divorce proceedings that lasted four years. In 1900 Marceau made New York City his primary operation. For about ten years he ran the Otto Sarony and the Marceau Studios out of New York. Using the Sarony name caused Marceau to fight Jonathan Burrow (purchaser of the Napoleon Sarony Studio) in court. Marceau was described as a skilled raconteur and he became very active in the photography world in New York. In 1905 he cofounded the Professional Photographers Society of New York with Pirie McDonald. Marceau, MacDonald, and B. J. Falk organized the Copyright League to give photographers stronger rights protection of their work. Marceau was quite successful financially. He employed profits from his studios to buy a large amount of New York City real estate. His name appeared in New York’s “Blue Book”. His estate was worth millions of dollars upon his death. His son, a Yale trained lawyer, took over the operation of his father’s studio after his father died but he sold it in 1922. To view the work of Marceau’s Cincinnati partner and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Bellsmith”.