Tag Archives: USA

Against the rose curtain

 

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I enjoyed spending some time restoring this beautiful portrait. The original has a print defect and is sprinkled with black ink from the process. But fortunately Photoshop corrected these tiny imperfections to reveal this shot’s true beauty. I absolutely love the window and gorgeous rose curtain behind this young man, and the use of lights and dark to create chiaroscuro. And one cannot miss his eyes.

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With the belt, collared shirt and thin, straight tie I’d date this portrait from the late 1910s to early ’20s (if so, it was printed on older stock).

RPPC: AZO up triangles, 1904-1918

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As if catching his reflection in the oval mirror…

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1890’s-1900’s cabinet card. Private Collection.

This one gave me a chuckle. This gentleman looks like a deer in the headlights with his wide eyes. And with him looking partly off-shot, it gives the impression he just  came into view and got caught off guard by his own reflection.

On a side note, yes it’s been a month since I last posted, to the day. I didn’t realize it’s been this long. Like everything else in life there are periods when I actively collect (and feverishly so!) and others when I don’t so much.  However, the drought is soon to pass and I will be responding to emails today. ;)

 


Early Colombia Portrait Company button photograph

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Detail of 1890’s to early 1900’s button portrait. ©bahc/c.ryan

This portrait is a beautiful early example of tin buttons the Chicago based Columbia Portrait Company used to make. The three founders Thomas J. Ogara, Thomas J. Durkin, and C.M. Stumcke incorporated in 1893 and the company was successful for nearly half a century before closing its doors in 1940. The name of the company was inspired by the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893 where they must have made their introduction. They made fine oil reproduction portraits and framed button “bubble” photographs they then began to sell on the road across the country.

So let’s talk about this young gentleman. I believe his portrait is very likely the reproduction of a cabinet card/cdv/tintype. The picture is sharp  and he was dressed to impress. His tie stack is impressive too, is this a large gemstone set with smaller ones? (I’m tempted to say they’re diamonds). The button is a smooth matte; unlike the later celluloid examples I’ve seen which have a plasticity or “bubble” effect to them. This portrait looks more like a tintype. I wonder if the young man was at the fair and had it done then and there.

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The button portrait is 6 inches in diameter, not counting the brass frame with hook. The logo is at the back center.

When I saw this button portrait I knew I had to have it. I was thrilled to find a tintype-like photograph in this format, with the sitter easily fitting in this collection. It needed quite a bit of cleaning up too. I usually keep originals alone but I’m looking to find out how to renovate the frame and cover a few age stains.


“Guess Who?”

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c. 1930-40 photo portrait. 3.25″ x 4″. Private Collection.

Someone wrote “Guess who?” on the back.

“Is this..? Oh my God, it is!” I imagine the recipient said when they first gazed at the portrait, and then a small smile formed in response to the genuine one on display.

This young man posed in his zipped up leather aviator jacket with a plaid scarf around the neck and dotted tie. His smile is endearing, with the hand tinted cheeks. Some say he bears a striking resemblance to Matt Damon. I can see it, do you?


Harold and Woods Ballies

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RPPC of Harold and Woods Ballies, c.1910. Private Collection.

These two look effortlessly elegant. Harold and Woods posed in their stiff collars and loose suits for a formal portrait. Hopefully they did their mama proud!

RPPC: AZO 1904-1918.


This 1900’s young man with the curtained hair

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1900’s RPPC. Private Collection.

I love this portrait for many reasons; the weathering adds a certain something to it that’s hard to describe, this young man’s also a bit nervous and awkward like he didn’t quite know how he would pose after he put his hat on the floor. And the backdrop drape is not figurative but painted more abstractly.

 

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RPPC: Back typical of North American cards of the period, but with no stamp box.


A lazy afternoon with the dogs

Candid snapshot. Private Collection.

1910s-20s candid snapshot. Private Collection.

A candid snapshot of two men (brothers?) on tipped chairs with two kids lounging in the sun on a lazy day, two of them overrun by three dogs begging for attention! One of the collies looks like it only has one thing on its mind: lick its beloved human’s face.

I’m not sure what is the furry looking thing on the head of the kid to the left.


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