Maiden Voyages: May 2016

A Premium Postcard Collection: It is with great excitement that I announce that my friend Stuart—who has perhaps the world’s biggest collection of Edwardian postcards—has finally consented to share his collection with Pigtails readers.  It will take time to sort through and scan thousands of postcards but as they become available, I will share them here.  For starters, some new Reutlinger images have come to light and that post has been updated.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this generosity is greatly appreciated.

Guilt by Association: On May 9th, photographer Chris Madaio is scheduled to stand trial for charges that he violated the conditions of his parole after serving 4 years in prison for possession of child pornography (see more details on his story here).  Although Madaio does not contest the original charges, the Morgan County, Alabama authorities seem determined to find any excuse to continue to punish him.  The new charges are based on images found on a computer and some USB drives found in a storage unit with his name on it.  The unit belonged to two women, the sister and a friend of Samuel Hyde.  Hyde was a convicted sex offender whom Madaio knew for a short time while attending the same court-ordered program.  The women allowed Hyde personal use of the unit, but neither they nor Hyde have been indicted.  To complicate things further, Hyde made a statement against Madaio before dying under mysterious circumstances.  It would be difficult to speculate on the veracity of all the details of the case, but it is an excellent illustration of how the justice system prefers to grandstand on prosecutions rather than rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have been convicted.  Although Madaio has a court-appointed attorney, he is hopeful that a more trusted family lawyer will be allowed to serve as co-counsel.

No News is Bad News: An item came across my desk about a controversy regarding a GAP Kids clothing line and the portrayal of Black people.  An ad campaign featuring a performing troupe called Le PeTiT CiRqUe (more on them in a future post) included one image with a bigger girl resting her arm on a shorter Black girl.  You can read a little about it here.  With all the special interest groups involved in this issue, many people are getting on the bandwagon and making a lot of noise.  Whatever the circumstances, I would like to humbly suggest that those sincerely interested in the cause of racial justice not waste their energy on something that will accomplish nothing while giving free publicity to a major clothing company.  On the other hand, it is nice that Le PeTiT CiRqUe got a little press.

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

“Moral Welfare” on the Set: One of our readers, who is child modeling agent, has shared items of interest regarding the changing rules and conditions of child models and actors. For example, in the past, outtakes from films shot in the days before the internet would never see the light of day and if there was some inadvertent nudity, it was of little concern. But today, a lot of behind-the-scenes footage gets leaked and so the rules in Hollywood have become a lot stricter.  An online article shares an interesting anecdote regarding the opening scene of Disney’s Pollyanna and informs readers that now, under California law, it is studio teachers who are responsible for the moral welfare of children in their charge.

To Top or Not to Top: As many readers of this site are aware, in many countries outside the United States, it is routine for undeveloped younger girls to swim in public without bikini tops.  A mother shares an interesting story about her 7-year-old daughter’s recent trip to Spain.  It offers a little insight about a child’s body image and her ability to adapt to different cultural norms.  The editorial concludes with the mother seeking this advice: now that the girl is used to swimming without a top, how can she be persuaded to go back?

Auction News: A friend passed on this small item about Sotheby’s auctioning off a few Sally Mann photographs on May 19th.  A lot of big-name photographers are featured and the Mann images are numbered 58–61.  Speculation in art has continued to inflate prices.

A Glamorous Bath: Léopold-Emile Reutlinger

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