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Boudoir Cards  -  Vintage Postcards of the Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque Postcards

Belle Epoque Postcards
French Postcards
Oriental erotic Postcards
French Glamour & Pin-up Postcards
Various Postcards
Cabinet Cards & Cartes de Visite
Artwork & Compositions
Books & Links
New Entries & Index


Belle Epoque - artists
Belle Epoque - photographers
Belle Epoque - publisher

At the time of the Belle Epoque, Paris (next to Vienna and London) was the centre of all different kinds of arts and artwork like painting, literature, fashion, interior design and accessoires. Three world's fairs in 1878, 1889 and 1900 contributed to this leading cultural position in the world. Opera, theatre and the famous variety locations and music halls like the Folies Bergère, the Moulin Rouge, Olympia, Eldorado or Parisiana brought up numerous of more or less famous stars and starlets, of whom only a few are still well known in our times, i.e. the theatre actress Sarah Bernhardt, or the mystified dancer Mata Hari.

Complementary with artist society, there was a symbiotic scene of officially tolerated and even supported "demi-monde" women called "cocottes". These were "high class" courtesans, of which Liane de Pougy was the most famous. And there was a lot of gossip i.e. about the mysterious relationships of these women like Cléo de Mérode and La Belle Otéro with men of upper class society, royals and politics.

Today the majority of all these actresses, dancers and well situated courtesans are almost completely forgotten. The most famous of them were subject of monographies, like Sarah Bernhardt, Cléo de Mérode, La Belle Otéro, Lina Cavalieri, Polaire or Liane de Pougy. Some of them, i.e. Jane Avril or La Goulue became immortal by the work of painters like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha or Giovanni Boldini. The famous Mata Hari is still widely known due to her mysterious and tragic life, documented in numerous books and movies. Nevertheless all the others still live on in their beautiful portrait photos, mostly taken by Léopold Reutlinger or other (at their time famous) photographers like Nadar, Walery, Manuel, Prof. Stebbing or Boyer. Documented on so called "cabinet photos" and "cartes de visite" (CDV) and especially the emerging postcards, these forgotten stars and starlets just have to be re-discovered again. The portraits were published on numerous commercially reproduced postcard-series by various publishers. These vintage postcards disclose and document a fascinating era of amazing beauty and gorgeous fashion and style.

Recently in 2012 Catherine Guigon published a wonderful arranged and illustrated book about the Belle Epoque and the courtesans at Paris, in French the so called "cocottes". For everyone who is interested in this topic, we highly recommend this book. So far it is only available in French language.
For more information look at our book section, which lists a plenty of books about the Belle Epoque, the variety theatres like the Folies Bergére, Moulin Rouge and music halls and selected biographies of former celebrities.

On the linked pages we show individual pages with postcards of the most popular actresses and artists.
Further pages are dedicated to the main photographers of postcards, and finally we collected some informations about postcard publishers and their logos. Use the link-buttons on top of the page.


References - Bibliography:


MoMA - Belle Eopoque

Exhibition Catalogue of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art


La Belle Epoque

Absinthe advertisement by Nover


Folies Bergère

poster by Paul Berthon


Paris - Belle Epoque

Exhibition Catalogue
Kulturstiftung Ruhr
Paris - Belle Epoque 1880-1914


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Vintage Postcards of the Belle Epoque
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