Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Week's Featured Items: Four Lounging Ladies

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Lise Walton Belle Epoque Actress as Gypsy circa 1905

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Very Cute Risque French Lingerie Model PC Paris circa 1920

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE 1920s Bathing Belle French Postcard

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Miss Ray Fern Variety Artist circa 1910 by Louis Martin

Salon de Paris Nude Portrait by M. Fronti

Early in the 20th century, the well-known photographer and publisher Alfred Noyer of Noyer Studios became involved in the Salon de Paris, more commonly called the Salon. Subsequent to his involvement in the Salon, he published the works of artists whose works had previously not been available to the general public.

SOLD Lovely nude image by artist M. Fronti, published by Alfred Noyer, c. 1905
Exhibition in the Salon was of key importance to becoming an established artist in France.

The Académie des Beaux-Arts was an organization devoted to preserving traditional French painting standards. In support of this goal, the academy promoted an annual juried show of art, the Salon de Paris, the first exhibition of which was held in 1725 (although the academy had organized other art shows as early as 1674). Prior to 1881, the Salon de Paris was sponsored by the French government, but in 1881 the government of France officially withdrew its sponsorship. After 1881, the show was sponsored by the Société des Artistes Français, which was an organization of all French painters and sculptors at the time of its foundation and whose principal purpose was to support the Salon. The Société des Artistes Français is still in existence today. 

A lot of the reason for the change of sponsorship of the Salon had to do with the birth of the Impressionist Movement, the rejection of Impressionist art by the more traditional artists who had previously controlled the Salon, and Napoleon's determination that the people should be allowed to decide for themselves the quality of the art. The origins of this shift then, actually occurred some 25 years previously, with the birth of Impressionism, and makes for some very interesting history reading, but for our purposes, what is also very important is what occurred just a few years before this postcard was published. In 1890, the Salon splintered again, this time over the desire of many within its ranks to encourage, through exhibition, young, previously un-awarded artists. This shift is the reason for a tremendous number of postcard images of beautiful artwork, such as the M. Fronti nude, pictured above, by relatively unheard of artists. It is a refreshing source of little known work, accessible to us thanks, in part, to publishers like Alfred Noyer.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Week's Featured Items: Parisian Actresses of La Belle Époque

This week's featured items are postcards spotlighting four actresses popular on Paris stages during La Belle Époque: Galathea Valerie, Joly Violetta (see our previous post, Mlle. Joly Violetta, Famous European Dancer), Regina Badet, and Nelly Viollette.


Monday, October 1, 2012

One Million Roses

SOLD Marguerite de Sevre
The story is told this way:

Once, there was a poor and humble Georgian named Niko Pirosmani. He was a house painter, a painter of signs, and of simple pictures of people and animals that had in them a spark of magic to touch the hearts of his fellow Georgians.

Niko Pirosmani, painter, Tbilisi, Georgia, 1916. Portrait by Eduard Klar.
Eduard Klar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
One day a famous French actress on tour stopped for a bit in Tblisi, the town where Niko lived, and Niko fell in love. It was said that of all things this actress loved flowers, especially red roses, so Niko, being only a simple man, and feeling a desperate kind of passion, took all the money he had in this world, he sold all of his canvases, his brushes, everything he owned he sold, and with this money he bought red roses; thousands, perhaps a million of them, and he filled the public square beneath her hotel window with these brilliant flowers. A few old grandmothers say that they can still remember how, throughout Tblisi, on that day, the air was heavy with the perfume of those roses.

Die Schauspielerin Margarita "The actress Margarita," 1909
Niko Pirosmanashvili (1862–1918) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In the morning when the actress, whose name was Marguerite de Sevre, awakened, she looked out her window to find the morning sun shining down upon the thousands, perhaps a million, scarlet roses in the square below. Watching from a discreet distance, Niko saw her surprised smile, and wept for joy. Marguerite saw the flowers, but she did not see Niko.

Well, Marguerite de Sevre returned to Paris, back to the bright gaiety of her life there. But Niko, poor Niko, financially ruined by this one impulsive act, lived out the rest of his life alone and slowly died of liver failure and malnutrition.

Ah well, perhaps it is only a story.

The story became a folktale in the Soviet Union, and a popular song, "One Million Roses," was based upon it. This song remains a favorite with audiences today throughout Russia and other nations that were once part of the USSR.

We were fortunate enough to locate another De Sevre, as well as an image of Suzanne Derval posing in the same chair. These images will be available for purchase in our shop on Etsy in the very near future.

Suzanne Derval
Marguerite de Sevre