Monday, June 30, 2014

French Artiste and Courtesan, Manon Loty, by Leopold Reutlinger, circa 1900

Superb portrait of Manon Loty, by Reutlinger, published by Clément, Tournier et Cie of Geneva Switzerland, circa 1900.

Mlle. Loty was such an incredible beauty. We adore this chignon! This is one out of a series by Reutlinger. Images from this series were very popular as evidenced by the fact that some of them are quite common even today. This particular image, on the other hand, is a far less common one out of the series, though not by any means rare.

16.00 USD, by redpoulaine via Etsy
16.00 USD, by redpoulaine via Etsy

We know from reading in histories not concerning her directly, that Mlle. Loty was a popular entertainer in her time. Also, we know that she was often seen at Maxime's, the famous Parisian haunt of the fabulously wealthy royals and industrialists who entered into "arrangements" with the Belle Epoque courtesans of Paris who frequented the place.

In an article appearing in a 1910 issue of Pearson's magazine, that concerned the Marguerite Steinheil case, in which Mme. Steinheil was accused (though afterwards acquitted) of the murder of her husband and stepmother, and who previously, while already married to the painter Steinheil, was found with the president of France, who had apparently died of excitement as she was making love to him (yes, it is QUITE a story), Manon Loty's name was mentioned as a casual aside. The article's author held her up as an example of a "mercenary" woman, in an attempt to excite sympathy on the part of the reader, for Mme. Steinheil.

The significance of this is twofold. First, by dropping her name casually in a popular American magazine, the writer tells us that Mlle. Loty was very well known in 1910, even in the United States.

Second, to use her in an attempt to cast in a positive light a married woman previously found in flagrante delicto with the recently deceased French president, and then later suspected of a double murder, would suggest that Mlle. Loty was also very well known for some pretty scandalous behavior! So, it is surprising to us that we have only found indirect references to her, and no solid biographical information.
Well, we'll keep searching.