A Glamorous Bath: Léopold-Emile Reutlinger

(Last Updated On June 17, 2022)

I am delighted to inform readers that my friend Stuart has decided to share images from his extensive postcard collection.  I replaced images that were of poor quality and it is interesting to see the variations.  As more samples come in, they will be added. -Ron

There are a lot of charming images of girls in bath scenes. Most are just the spontaneous records of parents, but in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the cult of the child had a strong hold on the European psyche. So it stands to reason that many companies produced staged sentimental portraits of bathtime.

In my opinion, one of the most charming is a series produced by Atelier Reutlinger (Reutlinger Photography Studio) in Paris. When I first saw one of these on a sales site, I had no idea that they could fetch upwards of $50 each. I only managed to acquire one of the cheaper versions recently.

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1905) (1)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (1)

Although this particular series (of perhaps a dozen poses) was probably shot by Léopold-Emile Reutlinger (1863-1937) himself, he was actually the third to run the studio. It was founded by Charles Reutlinger in 1850 and through the quality of his work, leveraged his way into the hearts of rich and famous people including models, actors and dancers who would have been instantly recognized in public. There are some charming examples of children as well—perhaps close relatives of other sitters.

Charles Reutlinger - An Angel in Paris (c1880)

Charles Reutlinger – An Angel in Paris (c1880)

In 1880, Charles handed over control to his brother Emile and ten years later it was passed on to his son Léopold. Being raised in Peru, Léopold was eager for the opportunity to run such an important enterprise and he introduced a number of innovations which became the hallmark of the studio name. By this time, it was postcards that kept photography studios and photographers financially afloat, so he made the company’s cards distinctive with meticulous hand-tinting and incorporating art nouveau overlays into the images to add visual interest. The studio was shut down in 1930 after Léopold lost an eye in an accident.

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1910)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1910)

Whether the images were proper portraits or soft erotica, they all conveyed a sense of glamour. This girl in various bath scenes may have been shot using some elegant props but none that I have seen had any art overlay and only some had hand-tinting. These are very hard to find, so I have been beating the bushes to find them or at least persuade collectors to share quality scans with us.

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (2)


Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1905) (3)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (3)

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1905) (4)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (4)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1905) (4a)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (4a)

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1905) (5)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (5)

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1905) (6)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (6)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1905) (6a)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (6a)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1905) (6b)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (6b)

None of these images appear in any online collections, but if you want to see more Reutlinger productions, I recommend visiting Wonderings which also has links to other sites. I do have one other example that I had seen before I was aware that images could be copied from websites, so it is a bad second-hand copy from a printout I made. I hope someone will come forward with a better example of this image.

Léopold Reutlinger - (untitled) (c1905) (7)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (7)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1905) (7a)

Léopold Reutlinger – (untitled) (c1900) (7a)

Because other bloggers may be a little leery about posting some of these because of the nudity, this is the ideal site for displaying them.  Therefore, I urge anyone owning any examples of this series to please come forward and send me some quality scans so they can be put on display here.  Pip can touch up most simple flaws that may exist in any specimens you may have.  Thank you, -Ron

10 thoughts on “A Glamorous Bath: Léopold-Emile Reutlinger

  1. Dear Jerrold,
    Logging in is for contributors to this site–mostly Pip and me. A few others write articles and have access. There is no need for you to log in. You can view all the same posts and comments everyone else can and there are no special privileges. Thank you, -Ron

      • I try to mention the titles of books when I can, but there are usually two complications. First, quite a few excellent artists have not been published in books or only have a couple of items shown in a collection–hardly justifying its purchase. And second, because of book-selling websites’ oversensitivity to certain content issues (namely child nudity), it is not always possible to know if a book has been published or how many books have been published. Every time I think I have a handle on it, there is some other book I never heard of. I did have the idea of dedicating a page on this site to listing books of this kind with brief information and a decent cover scan. All these things will happen in due course as time permits.

        • Yes, thank you for replying, and I hope that time WILL permit before long.

          Also, an incomplete list is better than NO list.
          And it can be added to, anytime that you find out more information.

          If a book only includes two or three pictures of the kind that are featured here, in my opinion that fact should still be mentioned here. Each individual person could then decide if it is “worth it” to him, based on his interests and his own financial resources.

        • P.S. I forgot to include the fact that Amazon sells photobooks, even those that are controversial. Amazon has wisely refused to give in to criticism coming from self-appointed prudish censors.

          • Yes, but you will notice that these items do not show covers and I have yet to see any written reviews. I think people may be worried about anonymity if they do a review on these kinds of books. -Ron

  2. Did you say that there is a place in France from which good-quality prints of these works by Reutlinger can be ordered? Or a thinking of some OTHER photographer who is featured here?

    • Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was saying that I am requesting better images from those who may have been collecting these. I do not know anyone specifically who has them, just a couple of leads that have not panned out. It is possible that someone in France may find them in an archive or museum since that is where the studio operated. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, -Ron

      • I myself live in the United States.
        But, did you make some reference to some place in France from which the work of some OTHER photographer featured here can be ordered?
        I seem to remember reading that statement somewhere here on the site.
        I do not remember which photographer you were talking about. (I originally thought that it was Reutlinger, but like you said, I was wrong.) Could you possibly tell me which photographer it was?

        • I probably mentioned on one of our pages that because of my contact with artists, that I might be able to help collectors get a hold of work by living artists. The only one I can think of in France is Peter Dominic. -Ron

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