Alkemanubis Revisited

(Last Updated On January 1, 2023)

We are greater than the sum of our parts. I am often faced with the reality of that aphorism whenever working with Pigtails readers. In the spirit of community, you have many times provided additional research to augment and correct items in the past. The original Alkemanubis post on May 3, 2021 started out as an unidentified random image from Christian. As luck would have it, one of our contributors is a friend of the artist and was given permission to share more of the work. Although this image is no longer publicly available, Alkemanubis (also referred to as Alke) does maintain a DeviantArt account, a Pixiv account and now also Twitter. It turns out that there were four versions of the image we published shown below. -Ron

Alkemanubis - Ritual

Alkemanubis – Ritual (2018)

Anime is a style of Japanese animation that is characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes. The anime style has become incredibly popular around the world, and there are many online communities dedicated to this type of art. Even though it originates from Japan artists from all over the world get influenced by it.

Alkemanubis – Rainy (2020)

A case in point is Alkemanubis, a talented Argentinean artist known for his anime-influenced digital illustrations featuring adorable little girls. His style has a heavy emphasis on realistic rendering, very reminiscent of academic art, but with a modern spin.

Alkemanubis – Afternoon in the meadows (2022)

Alkemanubis – Feel the breeze (2017)

One of the most striking things about Alkemanubis’ art is the attention to detail. From the characters’ anatomy to the delicate expressions on their faces, every aspect of his art is carefully crafted and lovingly rendered. His images often depict scenes from everyday life, capturing moments of joy, laughter, and friendship between young girls. But during special occasions he also creates nightmarish themes. That only shows his versatility as an artist.

Alkemanubis – Fashionistas (2020)

Alkemanubis – Dddemon unleashed (2021)

His tools for creating digital paintings are a computer, a digital tablet and Photoshop. Most of the process is similar to traditional illustration or painting, but with additional tools to speed up the process, but most of the work is still hand-drawn. Even with these tools Alkemanubis spends a very considerable number of hours on each of his artworks. Once the painting is complete, it can be saved and shared digitally.

Alkemanubis – mhmm-hmm-hmm (2018)

There’s a speedpaint video of some of his process you can view.

Random Images: Zippo Lighter Ad

(Last Updated On December 30, 2022)

It’s fascinating to learn what used to be considered wholesome and what is considered wholesome or admirable today. This ad was collected and posted on Instagram which includes many other ads in this style featuring young girls. It would be nice if someone could find out the date of this item.

Zippo Lighter Ad (1949)

Thanks go to the readers who did the digging and found out the publication date. -Ron

The Most Kissed Girl in the World

(Last Updated On December 24, 2022)

There is a statue of a young girl and her geese that is a celebrated icon of a university town in Göttingen, Germany. There is a festival every year where she gets bedecked with flowers and kisses by local academics. I learned about this statue from an Atlas Obscura podcast. Apparently it is a custom for newly-minted PhDs to give her a kiss upon receiving their certificates and it is believed that this statue is therefore the “most kissed girl in the world”. There are plenty of images that can be found online.

Göttingen Goose Girl

Merry Christmas to all! -Ron

Random Images: A Guérard Aspirant

(Last Updated On December 23, 2022)

I find it interesting and satisfying that a number of our readers are also artists who use this site for inspiration. It is good that artists don’t shy away from this subject matter simply because of people who assume a malevolent intent on the part of artists or publishers. For many of us, young girls inspire awe, both in their form and their personality.

One of our artist readers is a sculptor and was generous enough to share a piece of work inspired by another artist shared on this site, Georges Guérard. This sculptor specializes in sculpting children, both boys and girls.

Completed sculpture

He allowed me to show off his work and wonders which of his friends may also frequent this site can say they saw his work on Pigtails in Paint. Given the times, the artist requested that I not share his name and we did our best to interpret his text which had to be translated from French.

Wax Draft

As for the technique, I sculpt in wax, which is easier for me than clay. When the wax sketch is judged to be finished, with all the details completed, it is embedded in plaster, leaving the base of the feet sticking out of the plaster which will harden around the wax. The plaster is put in the kiln, which melts the wax and causes it to flow out through the feet of the statue.

Plaster showing cavity

The cavity left by the wax is filled with molten tin. The raw tin is very shiny but soon gets a dark patina.

Finished work before patina

Gotthard Schuh in Java and Bali

(Last Updated On December 10, 2022)

Gotthard Schuh was born in Germany to Swiss parents in 1897. The Schuh family moved back to Switzerland in 1902. Gotthard had a passion for art, and by 1919 he was active as a painter. He traveled and lived in Italy and Germany before finally returning to Switzerland in 1926. It was at that time he began to work as a professional photographer. Schuh would come to be much more renowned as a photographer than as a painter. The first illustration in this article is a sketch of a young girl that Schuh created in 1922. Although it demonstrates his talent as sketch artist, Schuh’s photos are, in my opinion, superior to his drawing.

Gotthard Schuh – Study of a Young Girl (1922)

Schuh joined the staff of the Zürcher Illustrierte magazine in 1932. He also worked as a freelance photographer for other European magazines during the 1930s. Photographic assignments required him to travel throughout Europe, and in March 1938 he began an eleven-month journey through Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Bali.

Javanese Tobacco Worker is the only photo that I am sure is not from Bali in this article. The model was photographed from a low angle, giving a sense of dignity in that the viewer must look up to the model.

Gotthard Schuh – Javanese Tobacco Worker (1938)

Balinese Girl is also photographed from a low angle. This is my favorite of the photograhs in this article. Palm tree and girl combine to make a dramatic photo.

Gotthard Schuh – Balinese Girl (ca.1938)

Singapore at the time was part of the British Empire; it was an island city that was a bastion of British military power in the Far East, and was a thriving commercial center. Sumatra and Java are both large populous Islamic islands that were then ruled by the Dutch. Bali was also a Dutch territory, but it is a smaller island, less westernized and less influenced by Islam. Bali retains its pre-Islamic, pre-European traditions more than the other places Schuh visited. Balinese temple dancers are famous around the world for their graceful movement. It is not surprising that Bali was featured in so many of the Schuh photographs.

Tanzende Mädchen is the title for the next three photos. Dances are performed to please the Balinese gods. During the performance, the dancers fall into a trance and are believed to be posessed by the diety. Sanghyang Dedari is one of the most famous of the Balinese temple dances. It is performed only by prepubescent girls, preferably about eight years old.

Gotthard Schuh – Tanzende Mädchen, Bali (1938)

Gotthard Schuh – Tanzende Mädchen, Bali (1938)

Gotthard Schuh – Tanzende Mädchen, Bali (1938)

The following three portraits of girls are typical of Schuh’s photographic style. Note that none of the models are looking directly at the camera.

Gotthard Schuh – Bali (1939)

Gotthard Schuh – Untitled (ca. 1938)

Gotthard Schuh – Untitled (ca. 1938)

The last three photographs are also of temple dancing girls. In 1937, shortly before Schuh’s visit to Bali, the documentary Trance and Dance in Bali was filmed by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Schuh’s photographs document the same dances, but Schuh appeared to be more interested in the artistic merit of his images.

Gotthard Schuh – Untitled (ca. 1938) (1)

Gotthard Schuh – Untitled (ca. 1938) (2)

Gotthard Schuh – Untitled (ca. 1938) (3)

A book of photographs from this trip Inseln der Götter (Islands of the Gods) was published in 1941. The book is Schuh’s most famous work. Gregor Krause had published a book with photographs of Bali (Bali 1912) and Inseln der Götter is in some ways similar. Krause, however, concentrated on glamour photos of adult women, while Schuh had more youthful models. Schuh died in Switzerland in 1969.

A Fairy Christmas

(Last Updated On December 12, 2022)

Kristina Gaughran – Lily Fairy (2008)

The presence of mythical fairies has been a part of human lore since the time of the ancient Greeks. Tiny human-like mischievous sprites were said to populate the forests of Great Britain and were even claimed to have been photographed in the early 1900s, which eventually—especially in the case of the Cottingley Fairies—was proved to be a hoax. The existence of an innocent and unspoiled community of fairies lets people dream of an idyllic realm where there is a carefree attitude and an escape from the daily troubles of life. The yuletide season is an ideal time to dream of such a world and the greeting card company Hallmark brings these nimble fairies to life with their trademark ‘Keepsake Ornament Fairy Messenger Series’.

Kristina Gaughran – Freesia Fairy (2021)

Kristina Gaughran – Bluebell Fairy (2014)

First released in 2005, the Fairy Messenger series has been continuously sculpted by Hallmark senior artist Kristina Gaughran (née Kline) who also designs many other characters in their ornament line. Each year’s fairy represents a different flower which is featured in the outfit that is designed for the fairy to wear. Since they are fairies, all of the fairies are winged which gives them the illusion of flight when hung upon a Christmas tree.  When designing the fairies there is great care in the details that project the image of their girlhood as they posses the innocence of a naive forest dweller. The fairies will typically sport hairstyles such as pigtails, bobs, and other styles popular for a girl. With their lithe and delicate body sculpture and the spotting of freckles, these barefooted fairies seem to lightly dance around the Christmas tree curious to what surprises lie within.

Kristina Gaughran – Sunflower Fairy (2020)

In 2018 Hallmark released an offshoot series of Fairies titled ‘Friendly Fairies Series’ in which the fairies represented characteristics of specific seasons of the year. There is a Love Fairy for February who helps those seeking out their Valentines, a beach fairy for Summer who lightly tests the water with her delicate toes, and a red-haired St. Patrick’s Day good luck fairy who smiles while sitting amidst a spray of clover. The previous years fairies can easily be purchased from ebay or Amazon at a reasonable price but there are special editions and repainted fairies that command a premium on the secondary market.

Kristina Gaughran – Poinsettia Fairy (2005)

Kristina Gaughran – Daisy Fairy (2013)

Suzanne Szasz

(Last Updated On December 7, 2022)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Despite appearing under my name Bob Freely, I’m not really the author of this post. That honor goes to my friend Jerrold, who decided to write about this talented artist and who composed the text. I did contribute the pictures from which we jointly selected samples and assisted him in getting them added, but ultimately this is his baby, and he deserves the credit.

Suzanne Szasz was a prominent child photographer and author of child photography books.

Suzanne Szasz – Photographing Children (1987, page 118)

She was born (as Suzanne Szekely) on October 20, 1915 in Budapest and emigrated to the United States in 1946. Her second husband was the photographer Ray Shorr, from 1956 until his death in 1994. She herself never had children.

Suzanne Szasz – Child Photography Simplified (1976, page 96)

After winning a cover competition of the Ladies’ Home Journal, she became a freelance photographer, selling pictures to magazines such as Life, Look, Parents, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s and Family Circle. She was a founding member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. In 1959 Suzanne was named one of the ten best women photographers in the United States.

Suzanne Szasz – Child Photography Simplified (1976, page 58)

Szasz died while visiting relatives in Budapest on July 3, 1997. An obituary described her work as “revealing and unsentimental pictures of children and family life”.

Suzanne Szasz – Child Photography Simplified (1976, pages 88-89)

A very good example of her talent was the sequence about Chrissy and her new dress. It appears in her book Child Photography Simplified (1976). She explains how after taking the second picture in the sequence, a full nude from the rear, she decided to have the little girl make a full turn while getting dressed. In each picture, she has rotated a little more toward the front.

Suzanne Szasz – The Body Language of Children (1978, pages 80-81)

Among her other books were The Body Language of Children (1978), Modern Wedding Photography (1977), Photographing Children (1987), Sisters, Brothers and Others (1984) with Elizabeth Taleporos, Young Folks’ New York (1960) with Susan E. Lyman, and We Are Six: The Story of a Family (1959) with Clara and Morey Appell.

Suzanne Szasz – Photographing Children (1987, page 137)

Some of the beautiful pictures of children in the 1968 edition of the sex-education book Growing Up by Karl de Schweinitz were also by Susanne Szasz (unfortunately, examples could not be found for this post).

Maiden Voyages: December 2022

(Last Updated On December 2, 2022)

Where has the year gone?

New Contributors: I am delighted to see an uptick of Pigtails readers making an effort to contribute new items to the site. I highly encourage these people because I am not personally able to produce or even know about all the material out there. So I would like to take the time to ask readers to not only share short leads but to put something together suitable for publishing. You are our eyes and ears out there, now let us use our hands. For those concerned about their weak matery of English, I am happy to do the editing necessary to achieve acceptable standards. Also, if you think you are a skilled editor but have no content to share, please let me know. We need people to take the leads we receive and produce them in an acceptable format.

Preserving a Legacy: I must sadly inform readers that my friend, Graham Ovenden, is in very bad condition and may be leaving us soon. To think that I may never again have an engaging conversation with this man is personally sad to contemplate. We have spoken on a wide range of subjects beyond that of the art world. The reason I am bringing this up is that I would like to preserve his legacy in part by keeping his two websites (personal and Garage Press) up for as long as practicable. I have no problem paying for this out of my own pocket, but I know there are others out there who may want to help out. In the next couple of months, we will be working out a way to receive monetary contributions for projects like this. Please let me know if you want to be one of them.

Consuming Children: In the world of fake news, it is hard to zero in on what is really happening and what can be done about it. The whole Pizzagate affair is a well-known example and it involved the shocking exploitation of children. This exploitation is a real problem except that malicious actors working to undermine the narrative in the US have got the story wrong so that highly-radicalized individuals behaved rashly. This tactic has succeeded to some extent in sowing discord in American society but does not address real child exploitation (nor was it ever intended to). Increasing unrest in the world and extreme wealth disparity has created a situation in which more and more children are trafficked. Being such a hot-button issue means that exaggerated claims abound and it behooves us to view such things with skepticism. But we should not be be naive and foll ourselves into thinking it is not a real problem. Of special interest is the efforts of Tim Ballard who has been working to actually rescue children who are trapped in this trade. Some of the details can be heard in the Jordan Harbinger Show  and there is now a film (Operation Toussaint: Operation Underground Railroad & the Fight to End Modern-Day Slavery) outlining the details of specific efforts in Haiti. As grim as this subject is, there are some heartwarming moments as well including a remarkable little girl who did everything she could to protect her little brother. I expect that this will become a dedicated post in the future.

Instagram Interest: There have been a lot of leads lately about interesting work published on Instagram. One site is of particular interest and it is no surprise that it comes from an occasional contributor of this site, WCL. Readers can take a look here and I am delighted to inform readers that he has contributed a new item to Pigtails that will be published soon. Another reader has volunteered to scout out other interesting examples as well. Since not all readers (including myself) have Instagram accounts, some of the more interesting examples will be republished here as small posts.

French Dolls: Kiki and Coco in Paris

(Last Updated On November 5, 2022)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Kiki & Coco in Paris (2011)

The bond between a girl and her doll can sometimes become unbreakable and may last throughout adolescence and into adulthood.  The attachment and sentimentality can be so great that a girl will bring her doll wherever she goes, as together they embark on the many adventures of girlhood.  This relationship is the centerpiece of the delightful book Kiki and Coco in Paris written by Nina Gruener with photographs by Stephanie Rausser and featuring a doll handmade by Jess Brown.  The book is a photography picture book and features a seven-year-old girl, Kiki, and her trip to Paris with her doll Coco.  The two enjoy many sites of the city such as the Eiffel Tower, dining in a café, museum trips, and relaxation time in the flat where they were staying.  The text is written from the perspective of Coco the doll as the doll is given feelings and emotions so as to relate to its young readers.  The text was written by Nina Gruener who owns Cameron + Co. Publishing who published their book under their Cameron Kids imprint.  The photographs for the book were created by lifestyle and advertising photographer Stephanie Rausser and features her daughter Kiki as the inspiration and model for the story.

The journey of Kiki and Coco began as a personal blog and a video slideshow of their travels in Paris together.  Since receiving an incredible amount of positive feedback after posting the images to her blog, she decided to create 3000 calendars based on the photos for art buyers, art directors, friends, and family.  With a high demand for the calendar, the following year another calendar was created featuring Kiki on a trip to Italy titled “Sweet Italia”.  Being less interested in being photographed for the new calendar, sweet treats such as ice cream, lollipops, and chocolate replaced the doll so as to tempt Kiki into posing for the photos.  After the second calendar was produced, her daughter begged her not to photograph her anymore and to find another model.  Rausser’s last calendar, “I Left My Heart In…”,  was produced in 2011 and this time it featured her niece Zeli in various attire and posing in different locations throughout San Francisco.

Rausser – 2009 Calendar (2009)

Rausser – I Left My Heart in… 2011 Calendar (2011)

Rausser – I Left My Heart in… 2011 Calendar (2011)

After becoming interested in the Kiki and Coco calendar, Cameron + Co. approached Rausser to inquire about turning her photos into a book.   Sending 5000 photos to the publisher, Cameron + Co. pulled their favorites and came up with a story that could appeal to children.  Though the photos were shot from the perspective of Kiki, the publisher wanted the story to reflect the doll’s perspective so the photos were then re-edited to focus mainly on the doll and what it was experiencing.  After publishing the book on November 1, 2011, the book found sentiment with mothers so they could share with their daughters the story and enjoy the touching photographs together.

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Kiki & Coco in Paris (2011)

Since readers found the Kiki & Coco book endearing, a second story was released in May of 2014 titled ‘‘Lulu and Pip” which featured the same team of collaborators.  In this story, a new girl named Lulu is leaving the big city with her doll, Pip, to have a camping adventure.  Along with her doll in tow, Lulu plays with her in a stream, builds a tent, and makes friends with a donkey.  The pages of the book are also filled with the full bleed photography of Rausser and captures Lulu’s romp with her doll in the forest.  

At the time of writing, Cameron + Co. is still producing books for all ages.  Stephanie Rausser is active with advertising, commercial, and lifestyle photography and has a vast collection of beautifully shot photographs on her website.  Jess Brown sells her handmade dolls online in multiple styles as well as women’s clothing and quilts on her website.

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Random images: Virginie Demont-Breton

(Last Updated On November 1, 2022)

Virginie Élodie Marie Thérèse Demont-Breton (1859–1935) is a French genre painter. Daughter of the painter and engraver Jules Breton and niece of the painter Émile Breton, she married the painter Adrien Demont. They had three daughters, and one of them, Adrienne Ball-Demont, would become a painter and sculptor.

She had a precocious artistic career, exhibiting her paintings at the Salon des artistes français in 1880 and obtaining the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1883, 1889 and 1900.

Her early works consist mainly of portraits and historical or mythological scenes in the academic style. After settling in the village of Wissant on the North Sea coast in 1890, she started painting the life of fishermen and their families, in a naturalistic style.

My first selection is one of her early works. At an auction at Sotheby’s, it has been estimated between US$40,000 and $60,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Une surprise (1879)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Une surprise (1879)

My second selection dates from the period when she moved to Wissant. It was also auctioned by Sotheby’s, being estimated between $30,000 and $40,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton was deeply committed to the recognition of women painters. She joined the Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs in 1883, and was its president from 1895 to 1901. Together with the sculptor Hélène Bertaux, she obtained the official admission of women to the École des Beaux-Arts and their right to compete to the Prix de Rome.