‘Yva Richard’ fetishwear company, Paris, ca. 1935

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

A leather dominatrix outfit from the Yva Richard catalog (c. 1935)

Nativa Richard modeling as a dominatrix (c. 1935)

Tightlaced Nativa Richard sitting on a barstool wearing only a corset and overknee boots (c. 1935)

Yva Richard was a French fetishwear company of the early 20th century. It was formed in Paris, by L. Richard and his wife Nativa, who was a seamstress.
They began in 1914 selling costumes, women’s hats, shoes, and high-class lingerie.
In 1923, their range of products started to include in-house produced photography, ranging from erotic lingerie poses to increasingly risque and imaginative fetish outfits. Nativa, displaying a wide streak of exhibitionism, was the principal model for over a decade. She sometimes used the names Helios and Miss Milado. Their photographs are often marked with a “Y.R.” in the corner and may have been taken by her husband.
They also sold erotic photos of bondage, whipping and spanking from well-known photographers such as H. Manuel and Ostra Studio (a division of Biederer Studio). Their main sales outlet was via a mail-order catalog, La Lingerie Moderne (photographed by Ostra Studio), and magazine advertisements in La Vie Parisienne, Le Sourire, and most likely London Life.
By the 1930s their catalog expanded, adding fetishistic accessories and S&M accouterments such as leather corsets, high-heeled boots, handcuffs, shackles, masks, dog collars with leashes, and bizarre dominatrix ensembles made of leather, rubber, and even metal.
However, the events of World War II brought an end to Yva Richard, along with most other purveyors of erotic art, products, and apparel throughout Europe. The company was forced to close its doors forever in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of France.
Yva Richard was one of a handful of companies that provided groundbreaking fetish fashions and photographs in the 1930s and ’40s. They had only one major rival, Diana Slip—a fetish wear company run by Leon Vidal, also based in Paris. Vidal’s collection while very much marketed to purveyors of kink had a slightly more sophisticated air and was not as overtly deviant as Yva Richard’s designs. In America, the only significant dealer in fetish paraphernalia and photography (much of it imported from France) at that time was Charles Guyette in New York.
Perhaps the most important result of the Yva Richard catalog was the influence it would have on the next generation of artists such as John Willie (who purchased items from Richard and Diana Slip in the ’30s) and photographers like Irving Klaw. In the 1950s, Klaw’s models, including Bettie Page, can be seen wearing a metal cone-bra and chastity belt outfit that is an updated version of the one modelled by Nativa Richard.
A book about the company has been published called: “Yva Richard, L’age d’or du fetichisme” by Alexandre Dupouy.

Fetishism tends to focus on materials. As far as underwear is concerned, recurring materials are silk and nylon, but after these two fabrics became outdated, designers began to use leather, metal and above all latex. Leather and metal have been used for a long time, as shown in the photographs of Yva Richard but it is latex that has considerable appeal today. In the 1920’s, Yva Richard appeared in a whole series of photographs in which she posed as a dominatrix. She usually modelled a corset similar to those of the second half of the 19th century, or all-in-ones in silky, smooth and shiny materials or leather. Leather was the fetishist’s material of choice for a long time.

Clothing fetishism or garment fetishism is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a collection of garments that appear as part of a fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a garment.
Clothing that limits the wearer’s movement is commonly used for this property, particularly among bondage enthusiasts and it has common appearance in bondage-related fetish fashion. Such restrictive fashion, among others, includes corsets, collars, and hobble skirts. The training corset and bondage corset has also become a staple in fetish wear, particularly among professional dominants. A submissive or slave may also be forced to wear a tightly laced corset as a form of punishment or simply restriction. And the masochistic practice known as tightlacing creates a particular type of pleasure for the wearer. It is done to achieve cosmetic modifications to the figure and posture or to experience the sensation of bodily restriction. In the 1980s, pop music performers such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper reintroduced and popularized the corset as a daring outerwear garment. This influence continues to the present day in both fetish and mainstream fashion.

Editions Astarte: “Yva Richard, L’age d’or du fetichisme” by Alexandre Dupouy

Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a sexual attraction to people wearing leather and or to the garments themselves. The smell and the sound of leather is often an erotic stimulus for people with a leather fetish.
BDSM – A variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle. The term “BDSM” is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).
A dominatrix is a woman who takes the dominant role in BDSM activities. A dominatrix might be of any sexual orientation, but her orientation does not necessarily limit the genders of her submissive partners. The role of a dominatrix may not even involve physical pain toward the submissive; her domination can be verbal, involving humiliating tasks, or servitude.
Sources / More to Read:
Spanking Art: Yva Richard
Wikipedia: Yva Richard
Editions Astarte: “Yva Richard, L’age d’or du fetichisme” by Alexandre Dupouy
Dangerous Minds: Fierce vintage fetish wear from the 1920s and 1930s
Wikipedia: Sexual fetishism
Wikipedia: Clothing fetishism
Wikipedia: Outline of BDSM
Wikipedia: Dominatrix


Circus workers, Cologne, ca. 1926

aka. Indian Man and German Woman
August Sander, part six

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Zirkusarbeiter, Köln, 1926 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”. August Sander took a methodological approach in his monumental documentary project People of the 20th Century. He classified his photographs into seven groups and multiple sub-groups, reflecting the social structures and developments of his time. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Fair and Circus’ within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It is one of a series of photographs that August Sander took of performers and other members of the famous Barum Circus. Between 1926 and 1929 the circus toured the Rhineland cities of Dortmund, Remscheid and Cologne. Sander portrayed the circus people as representatives of a certain urban type that he named ‘travelling people’, which also included vagrants and gypsies. The caravans, tents and makeshift domestic environments depicted in the photographs of the members of the Barum Circus emphasise the nomadic nature of their lives. During the Weimar era (1918–33) circus caravans wound their way across Germany, occupying urban wastelands and other ‘in-between’ spaces, momentarily revitalising them as sites of wonder, exoticism and permissiveness. In the popular culture of Sander’s Germany, the mobile circus milieu was synonymous with ‘dangerous’ and ‘primitive’ types – particularly gypsies and people of colour. Sander’s dispassionate circus shots feature both these ‘types’. Historians have used them to illustrate the photographer’s liberal values, values that led to his victimisation under Nazism.
The Circus Barum was founded in 1878 by the East Prussian animal dealer Carl Froese in Konigsberg as Barum’s American Caravan menagerie. After the death of Carl Froese in 1907, his daughter Helene took over the management together with her husband, the animal trainer Arthur Kreiser. From 1935, Margarete Kreiser-Barum, the daughter of Kreisers, continued the family business. She run the circus successfully through the years of the Second World War until it was destroyed in a bomb attack in 1944. In 1946, she dared a new beginning and toured with a new Circus Barum until her death in 1970.  In 1972, Gerd Siemoneit-Barum bought the circus and directed it until 2008. On 26 October 2008 the last performance of the Circus Barum took place in Northeim. Rebecca Siemoneit-Barum and her company Barum & Bauer Performance GmbH took over a part of the animal stock and staff. Since 2012, she is presenting the “Circus Barum Weihnachtsspektakel” in Gottingen.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Tate Papers, Katherine Tubb: “Face to Face? An Ethical Encounter with Germany’s Dark Strangers in August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century”
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Tate, London
Wikipedia: Circus Barum (in German)

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924
National Socialist, Germany, 1937
Cadet, Germany, 1944


Margot Fonteyn, London, 1935

Emil Otto Hoppé – Part Two
Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Margot Fonteyn, 1935 (Curatorial Assistance, Inc. / E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Margot Fonteyn by E.O.Hoppé, 1935 (Curatorial Assistance, Inc. / E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, DBE (1919 – 1991), was an English ballerina.
Fonteyn was born Margaret Evelyn Hookham in Reigate, Surrey. Her father, Felix, was a British engineer and her mother, Hilda, was half Irish and half Brazilian, the daughter of Brazilian industrialist Antonio Fontes. Very early in her career Margaret took the name by which she was known all her life, “Margot Fonteyn”, with surname derived from “Fontes”, also adopted by her brother—Portuguese “fonte” is “fountain” in modern English, “fonteyn” in Middle English. Her later formal married name was “Margot Fonteyn de Arias”, in the Spanish-language tradition.
At four years of age her mother signed her and her elder brother up for ballet classes. At age eight, Margot traveled to China with her mother and father, who had taken employment with a tobacco company there. For six years Margot lived in TianJin, then in Shanghai, where she studied ballet with Russian emigre teacher George Goncharov. Her mother brought her back to London when she was 14, to pursue a ballet career.
In 1933 Fonteyn joined the Vic-Wells Ballet School, (later Royal Ballet School) which was founded by Ninette de Valois in 1928.  De Valois believed in Fonteyn’s talent and pushed her through difficult moments.By 1939 Fonteyn had performed principal roles in Giselle, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty and was appointed Prima Ballerina. Until then all leading dancers in Britain had been Russian or French.
In the 1940s she and Robert Helpmann formed a very successful dance partnership, and they toured together for several years. When the Royal Ballet toured the United States in 1949, Fonteyn instantly became a celebrity for her performances. In the 1950s she danced regularly with Michael Somes.
In 1951 Fonteyn was decorated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1956 she became Dame of the Order of the British Empire, after which she was known as Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Fonteyn began her greatest artistic partnership at a time when many people thought she was about to retire. In 1961 Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West, and on 21 February 1962 he and Fonteyn first performed together in Giselle. She was 42 and he was 24. Their performance was a great success. They created an on-and-offstage partnership that lasted until her retirement in 1979 at age 61. Fonteyn and Nureyev became known for inspiring repeated frenzied curtain calls and bouquet tosses. Despite differences in background and temperament, and a 19-year gap in ages, Nureyev and Fonteyn became close lifelong friends and were famously loyal to each other.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s Fonteyn had a long relationship with composer Constant Lambert. In 1955, at age 36, she married in Paris a man she had met in her youth: Robert E. Arias, “Tito,” the son of the former president of Panama who became the Panamanian ambassador in London. In 1959, whilst Margot continued her successful career, Arias planned an armed invasion to Panama City. Fonteyn was arrested for helping Arias to attempt a coup d’etat against the government. Confidential British government files released in 2010 showed that Fonteyn knew of and had some involvement in the coup attempt. In 1964 a rival Panamanian politician shot Arias, leaving him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
In 1979, Fonteyn made her last stage appearance and received, from the Royal Ballet in England, the title “prima ballerina assoluta,” a title only given to three ballerinas in the 20th century. After her retirement Fonteyn spent all her time in Panama, and was close to her husband and his children from an earlier marriage. She had no pension, and had spent all her savings looking after her husband. Shortly before her husband’s death, in 1989, Fonteyn was diagnosed with a cancer that proved fatal. She died on 21 February 1991 in a hospital in Panama City, Panama, aged 71.
Emil Otto Hoppé (1878–1972) was a German-born British portrait, travel, and topographic photographer active between 1907 and 1945. Hoppé was one of the most important photographic artists of his era and highly celebrated in his time. He was the undisputed leader of pictorial portraiture in Europe. In the 1930s Hoppé photographed a number of dancers at the Vic-Wells company including Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Hermione Darnborough and Beatrice Appleyard.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Margot Fonteyn
Daily Mail: Fonteyn in Panama coup attempt
Wikipedia: E.O. Hoppé

Miss Evelyn Nesbit, New York, 1903

Restoration & Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Restoration & Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Miss N [Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, at a time when she was brought to the studio by Stanford White], (photo: Gertrude Käsebier), 1903

Miss N [Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, at a time when she was brought to the studio by Stanford White], ( Gertrude Käsebier / Library of Congress), 1903

Florence Evelyn Nesbit (1884 – 1967), was a popular American chorus girl and artists’ model. Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era.
By the time of her 16th birthday in 1900, Evelyn Nesbit was known to millions as the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty, and whose innocent sexuality was used to sell everything from chocolates to perfume. Soon after arriving in New York, Nesbit had become the mistress of millionaire architect Stanford White.
Stanford White (1853 – 1906) was considered the most distinguished architect of his day. He had designed more than fifty of New York’s most admired buildings, including the Madison Square Gardens and the Washington Square Arch. He was also a spectacular ladies-man, who kept several different mistresses at once, secreted in a number of love nests throughout the city. In one of his apartments, White kept Evelyn Nesbit, who he had despoiled upon her arrival in New York. He had fallen madly in love with her, despite the fact that at 47, White was nearly three times her age. Evelyn remained with White until she was 19 and at that point she left him and became involved with Harry Thaw.
Harry Kendall Thaw (1871 – 1947) was the son of Pittsburgh coal and railroad baron William Thaw, Sr. Heir to a multimillion-dollar mine and railroad fortune, Harry Thaw had a history of severe mental instability and led a profligate life.
In 1905, Nesbit, following her mother’s advice, she married him.
At the age of 34, Harry Thaw was slowly going insane. He persecuted Evelyn about her former relationship with White. Once, he beat her with a belt for hours and made her confess every sexual act in which she had engaged with Stanford White.
A year later, on June 25, 1906, Thaw and Evelyn, accompanied by two friends, attended the opening of a play at the dining theater on the roof of Madison Square Gardens. The theater was a frequent gathering place for New York society. Soon after taking their seats, Thaw noticed Stanford White being ushered to a table in the privileged section near the footlights. He approached his wife’s ex-lover, and shot him three times at point-blank range, twice in the face and once in the shoulder.
Nesbit became the star witness in a three-month trial (as the press call it “The Trial of the Century”) full of shocking details about her relationships with the two men. She claimed that as a stage performer, and while still a 14-year-old, she attracted the attention of Stanford White, who first gained the family’s trust and then sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. Evelyn was cast in the press as ‘the girl in the red velvet swing’ in reference to a swing that White had installed in his luxurious, multi-storey apartment. Evelyn’s mother was accused of prostituting her daughter to White. Thaw was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a second trial, and spent eight years in an asylum for the criminally insane. Nesbit divorced Thaw in 1915.
In the 1920s, Nesbit became the proprietor of either a tearoom or speakeasy located in the West Fifties in Manhattan. It was during this period and well into the 1930s that Nesbit struggled with alcoholism and morphine addiction. During the 1930s she worked on burlesque stages throughout the country, though not as a stripper.
She published two memoirs, The Story of My Life (1914), and Prodigal Days (1934). During the years of World War II, Nesbit lived in Los Angeles, teaching ceramics and sculpting at the Grant Beach School of Arts and Crafts.
Nesbit died in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 82.
Gertrude Käsebier (1852–1934) was one of the most influential American photographers of the early 20th century. She was known for her evocative images of motherhood, her powerful portraits of Native Americans and her promotion of photography as a career for women. A major collection of her work is held by the University of Delaware.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: Evelyn Nesbit
Wikipedia: Stanford White
Wikipedia: Harry Kendall Thaw
Wikipedia: Gertrude Käsebier
“American Eve” by Paula Uruburu
BBC: The World’s First Supermodel
Dailymail: America’s supermodel, Evelyn Nesbit…
Affictor.com: Nesbit, in 1952 – “I’ve Discovered An Exciting New Career In Art”
Dead men do tell tales: The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing
Buy a Print:
Red Bubble

Treasures of New York: Stanford White



Michael Costello, alias The Amazing Blondini, Brighton UK, 1955

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

1955:  Mike Costello, otherwise known as Blondini or the White Yogi, lying on a bed of nails whilst balancing a woman on his chest.  (Photo by Reg Coote/BIPs/Getty Images)

1955: Mike Costello, otherwise known as Blondini or the White Yogi, lying on a bed of nails whilst balancing a woman on his chest. (Photo by Reg Coote/BIPs/Getty Images)

Michael Costello (1922-1996), fairground performer and escapologist, was born at a fairground in Dublin, Ireland in August 1922; both his parents were fairground novelty acts from Tralee, his father a strongman and his mother a fortune teller. He had no formal education and spent his formative years on the fairgrounds of Ireland and England. At 13 he left his family and began his career as the world’s youngest sword-swallower. Two years later he added fire-eating to his act. However, after his sister fell to her death during her trapeze act, he left the fairgrounds and spent many years as a drifter, mostly around Dublin.
In 1939 Costello moved to London and worked for a time with a quack, selling health potions. With the onset of the second World War he joined the British army as an infantryman. After the war he returned to the business of entertaining. He became an escapologist, learned the art of self-hypnosis, developed into a strongman and was also an explosives expert. His stunts included lying on a bed of nails and inviting people to walk on him, pulling a Rolls-Royce with his teeth and lying in a coffin filled with explosives and blowing it up.
He toured the world under the name the Amazing Blondini, and his death-defying stunts attracted audiences of more than 10,000 people. He was constantly inventing new stunts and acts: at Bellevue fairground in Manchester in 1975 he was buried alive for 78 days. His acts were not illusions, and on one occasion he was badly burned after his exploding coffin trick went wrong; however, he continued to perform the trick well into his 60th year.
Described as “one of the worlds greatest circus performers”, Costello appeared in fairgrounds and theatres in Asia, the US, South Africa and Europe. He also worked as a film stuntman for actors such as Alan Ladd and Victor Mature and appeared on many British television shows, including The Billy Cotton Band Show, Sunday Night at the London Palladiumand The Russell Harty Show.
Costello died on November 20th 1996 in Wicklow and is buried in Greystones. He had been visiting his friend and biographer Gordon Thomas and was thinking of retiring to Ireland. He was survived by his common-law wife, Sally. (Adapted from the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography.)

“…the Coffin of Death… was a deceptively simple stunt in which Blondini climbed into a plywood coffin lined with explosive… (he) lit the fuse and pulled the rug over his head. The explosion broke glass in the Law Courts, a hundred yards away. When the smoke cleared, the awed and dazed audience ran forward and carried the semi-conscious Blondini (bleeding from both ears) shoulder high.” Excerpt from: “Granada Television – The First Generation” by John Finch, Michael Cox, Marjorie Giles

Mike Costello, aka Blondini, demonstrates the muscular strength of his neck as a rope is tightened around his neck by his bikini-clad assistants. (Photo by Reg Coote/BIPs/Getty Images)

Mike Costello, aka Blondini, demonstrates the muscular strength of his neck as a rope is tightened around his neck by his bikini-clad assistants. (Photo by Reg Coote/BIPs/Getty Images)

A bed of nails is an oblong piece of wood, the size of a bed, with nails pointing upwards out of it. It appears to the spectator that anyone lying on this “bed” would be injured by the nails, but this is not so. Assuming the nails are numerous enough, the weight is distributed between them such that the pressure exerted by each nail is not enough to puncture the person’s skin.
One use of such a device is for magic tricks or physics demonstrations. A famous example requires a volunteer to lie on a bed of several thousand nails, with a board on top of him. Cinder blocks are placed on the board and then smashed with a sledgehammer. Despite the seemingly unavoidable force, the volunteer is not harmed: the force from the blow is spread among the thousands of nails, resulting in reduced pressure; the breaking of the blocks also dissipates much of the energy from the hammer. This demonstration of the principles of weight distribution requires that the weight of the volunteer be spread over as many nails as possible. The most dangerous part is the moment of lying down or getting up, when one’s weight may briefly be supported on only a few nails. Some “beds” have rails mounted at the sides to help users lie down and get up safely. The bed of nails is used by some for meditation, particularly in Asia, and for certain health benefits, such as back pain relief, see acupressure mat.
Sources / More to Read:
Irish Times: Irish Lives – Michael Costello
Wikipedia: Bed of Nails
Mashable: Bed of Nails
The Illusionist – A Journey in Local Magic, an Interview with Jim Doherty

Jeanne Juilla, Miss Europe, ca. 1930’s

Jeanne Juilla on french postcard, ca. 1930's

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

French postcard of Jeanne Juilla, ca. 1930's

French postcard of Jeanne Juilla, ca. 1930’s

A French postcard is a small, postcard-sized photograph of a nude or semi-nude woman. Such erotic cards were produced in great volume, primarily in France, in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Because nudity was seen so far only in classic paintings, people were excited by the new technique of photography, which made it possible to collect erotic images otherwise not accessible apart from expensive artworks. New industrial reproduction techniques allowed publishers of postcards to sell large amounts of various series. The cards were sold as postcards, but the primary purpose was not for sending by mail, as they would have been banned from delivery. Due to the contemporary moral and law, these cards were usually sold and traded discretely in stores or by street dealers.
Most of the photographers kept their work anonymous by using acronymic signatures. They didn’t want to risk their public reputation, or to get in troubles with the law. Nevertheless photographers in Paris like Jean Agélou, Louis Amedée Mante or Julian Mandel produced numerous series of semi-nude and nude photographs of a large variety of anonymous models. Modelling for nude photography was kept secretly too. This is why there are only a very few known names of artists from theatre or music halls.
Jeanne Juilla, born in 1910 at Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne), France, was a model and actress. She elected Miss Garonne in 1930 and Miss France the next year. On February 5, 1931, in Paris, she became the first French Miss Europe, among the representatives of 16 European countries.
Being a contestant for Miss Europe was tough. In the countries that already had pageants, the girls began in small contests and worked their way up, from local cantons to provinces and finally the capital. The contestants had to possess those genuine, innocent yet sensual charms. Some entrants came from privileged backgrounds, where they had been taught the etiquette of table manners and the art of small talk from an early age, but the judges could also be touched by a young lady’s journey from small town baker’s daughter to culture symbol to the metropolis. Such a girl had led a wholesome, positive life, a role model the world.

“My greatest ambition is to make my mother happy. I will not go on the stage or screen. Just a few weeks ago I saw a large city for the first time—Paris!” Jeanne Juilla, Miss Europe 1931: Time Magazine, Feb. 16, 1931

It was a standard for the winners of such beauty-pageants to have several types of photo shoots, and some were in nude. Jeanne Juilla, was above average in height with hazel eyes of bluish/greenish/grey, and dark hair. She worked as a dress maker with her mother in a small business in Villeneuve-Sur-Lot, where she spent the greater part of her life, according to “The Straits Times, 18 April 1931”.
Tracing what happened to the various contestants after they won turns up precious little. A few moved on to acting or modelling careers, usually short lived and unspectacular. For most the beauty pageant was their one brief brush with fame.
Jeanne Juilla’s filmography: His best client (1932), The Prison of St. Chlothaire (1934), A woman chipée (1934), Samson (1936).
Sources / More to read:
Wikipedia: French postcard
Wikipedia: Jeanne Juilla
Boudoir-Cards: French (Erotic) Postcards
Boudoir-Cards: Jeanne Juilla
One Man’s Treasure: Pageants of Pulchritude

Ni Pollok, ca. 1950

Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Ni Pollok, wife & model of painter Adrien Le Mayeur (photo: Charles Breijer) 1947-1953

Ni Pollok, wife & model of painter Adrien Le Mayeur (photo: Charles Breijer) 1947-1953

Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur (1880 – 1958) was a Belgian painter from Brussels who lived the last part of his life in Bali. Adrien came to Bali in 1932. He was fascinated by Balinese culture, the people’s traditional way of life, the temple rituals and local dances. He was also impressed by the light, color and beauty of the surroundings in the then still quite unspoilt island.
Le Mayeur rented a house in banjar Kelandis, Denpasar, where he got acquainted with 15-year-old legong dancer, Ni Nyoman Pollok, known by her nickname Ni Pollok. A number of Le Mayeur’s Bali works using Ni Pollok as model were exhibited in Singapore for the first time in 1933, which turned to be a very successful exhibition and made him more widely known. Returning from Singapore, Le Mayeur bought a piece of land at Sanur beach and built a house, which was also his studio. After three years working together, in 1935, Le Mayeur and Pollok got married. Le Mayeur kept on painting with his wife as his model during their married life.
During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II Le Mayeur was put under house arrest by the Japanese authorities. He continued painting, however, often painting on rice sack cloth and other surfaces he could find. After the war Le Mayeur’s reputation grew at steady pace.
Years after the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, the Indonesian Minister for Education and Culture visited Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok at their house in 1956. He was greatly impressed with the painter’s work and therefore suggested to the couple that their house and all its contents should be preserved as a museum. Le Mayeur agreed to the idea and since then he worked harder to add more collections to the house and to increase the quality of his works as well. On 28 August 1957 a Deed of Conveyance was signed, stating that Le Mayeur had given all his possessions including the land, his house with all its contents to Ni Pollok as a gift. And at the same moment, Ni Pollok then conveyed what she had inherited from her husband to the Government of Indonesia to be used as a museum.
In 1958 Le Mayeur suffered from a severe ear cancer, and accompanied by Ni Pollok he returned to Belgium to have a medical treatment. After two months in Belgium, the 78-year old painter died and was buried in Ixelles, Brussels. Ni Pollok then returned home to take care of her house which had become the Le Mayeur Museum. She stayed there until her death on 18 July 1985 at the age of 68. Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok’s home is kept in its original condition and is still a museum.

The ear plugs, worn by Ni Pollok in this photo, were made of copper and the space inside was used to store tobacco for betel-chewing. The betel (Piper betle) is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family, which includes pepper and kava. It is valued both as a mild stimulant and for its medicinal properties. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia, as betel quid or in paan, with or without tobacco, in an addictive psycho-stimulating and euphoria-inducing formulation with adverse health effects.
Nederlands Fotomusem

Detail from a Le Mayeur's painting

Detail from a Le Mayeur’s painting

Ο Αντριέν-Ζαν Λε Μαγέρ (1880 – 1958) ήταν ένας Βέλγος ζωγράφος που έγινε γνωστός για τους πίνακες που ζωγράφισε στην τελευταία περίοδο της ζωής του, στο Μπαλί. Το 1932, επισκέφτηκε το νησί της Ινδονησίας και εντυπωσιάστηκε από την ντόπια κουλτούρα, τον τρόπο ζωής των ανθρώπων, και τη φυσική ομορφιά του τόπου.
Εκεί γνώρισε τη 15χρονη χορεύτρια τοπικών χορών Νι Πόλλοκ, που πόζαρε για τους πίνακες του. Τον επόμενο χρόνο, μετά από μια επιτυχημένη έκθεση στη Σιγκαπούρη, αποφάσισε να εγκατασταθεί μόνιμα στο Μπαλί. Αγόρασε μια έκταση στα νότια του Μπαλί και έφτιαξε ένα σπίτι που έγινε το στούντιο του. Το 1935 παντρεύτηκε την Νι Πόλλοκ που έγινε το μόνιμο μοντέλο στα έργα του.
Οι μετά-ιμπρεσιονιστικοί πίνακες του Λε Μαγέρ, επηρεασμένοι από το νέο περιβάλλον του, τον έκαναν διάσημο τα επόμενα χρόνια.
Το 1958, προσβλήθηκε από καρκίνο στο αυτί, και αναγκάστηκε να πάει στις Βρυξέλλες για θεραπεία. Πέθανε την ίδια χρονιά σε ηλικία 78 χρονών. Μετά το θάνατο και της γυναίκας του, το 1985, το σπίτι τους μεταβιβάστηκε στο κράτος και έγινε μουσείο.

Όπως φαίνεται στη φωτογραφία της Νι Πόλλοκ, μέρος της παράδοσης στο Μπαλί ήταν να έχουν οι γυναίκες ακάλυπτο το πάνω μέρος του σώματος τους, όπως και το ear plug που είναι περασμένο στο λοβό του αυτιού της. Αυτό χρησίμευε και ως δοχείο ενός παρασκευάσματος, δημοφιλούς στην Ν.Α Ασία, από φύλλα betel και ταμπάκο. Το μάσημα του betel quid έχει ευφορικές και διεγερτικές ιδιότητες αλλά δυσμενείς επιπτώσεις στην υγεία.

Doris Fisher on a smoke break, 1946

Color by Manos Athanasiadis

Color by Manos Athanasiadis

Model Doris Fischer takes a smoke break

Model Doris Fischer takes a smoke break (Photo by Loomis Dean//Time Life Pictures)

Model Doris Fisher on a smoke break during classes at Oxbow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan, USA. Photo by Loomis Dean for Life Magazine.
Oxbow Summer School of Painting
Article: Miss Moss
Wikipedia: Loomis Dean

Αφού πόζαρε για μισή ώρα, η Ντόρις Φίσσερ αποφάσισε να κάνει ένα μικρό διάλειμμα για τσιγάρο, στη σκιά των δέντρων του Οξμπόου. Ο Λούμις Ντίν, πήρε την κάμερα του και έβγαλε ακόμα μια φωτογραφία. Ετοίμαζε ένα ρεπορτάζ για την καλοκαιρινή σχολή ζωγραφικής του Ινστιτούτου Τεχνών του Σικάγο. Θα τυπωνόταν σε κάποιο από τα επόμενα τεύχη του Λάιφ, το 1947.