One way to approach the Reutlinger postcards is from the perspective of the models (really, celebrities) featured on the cards, many or most of whom appear to have been well known singers, dancers, and actresses of the day. I will over time work on adding information and cards from my collection for particular models on this page. This will necessarily be a work in progress. Click on any of the images to scroll through all of the images in each set.
Cléo de Mérode, born in Paris, who was a famous ballet dancer, who also went on to dance at the the Folies Bergère. Her wikipedia page and this Red List page has more information and images. Here is an impressive online journal piece called “Cléo de Mérode’s Postcard Stardom.” This link appears to have film footage of her dancing (as well as Caroline Otero — see below).
Another popular model, Lina Cavalieri, was born North of Rome and came to Paris and sang in music halls and later in opera. Her wikipedia page has more information and images. Also, I recently discovered via the MessyNessy Chic blog that Cavalieri was the model for Piero Fornasetti’s famous plate series ‘Tema e Variazioni’. Check out the whole story there; the blog post also has great biographical information about Cavalieri.
Carolina Otero (universally known as “La Belle Otéro”) is one of the most famous personalities featured on the Reutlinger postcards. Born in Galicia in 1868, there is a lot of information about her and more images on her Wikipedia page and this Red List page, and this link that has film footage of her dancing. This link appears to have a recording of her singing. It was once said of her that her extraordinarily dark black eyes were so captivating that they were “of such intensity that it was impossible not to be detained before them.” Here are a few cards from my collection featuring La Belle Otero:
Lucie (or Lucy) Gerard was born in Lyon in 1872. According to her Wikipedia page, she was a stage actress and later appeared in silent films (billed as Lucy Mareil). There is also an informative entry on Gerard on the blog “Red Poulaine’s Musings.”
Here is a link to a page of Gerard photos in an album of Reutlinger photographs in the digital library Gallica.