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The Reutlingers

The family of the Reutlingers, originating from Karlsruhe in Germany, began with Charles Reutlinger to establish a photographic studio after moving to Paris in 1850. In the following decades, especially under the directorship of his nephew Léopold, the Studio Reutlinger, Paris, Boulevard Montmartre 21, developed to one of the leading photo studios for portrait-photography of french high society, artists, actresses and dancers, i.e. Sarah Bernhardt, La Belle Otéro, Cléo de Mérode or Lina Cavalieri.

Unfortunately the name of the Reutlingers got almost forgotten in 20th/21st century photographic literature. In available encyclopedias of famous photographers, their name is scarcely mentioned.

Thus the book "Les Reutlingers" by Jean Pierre Bourgeron is an important and fascinating documentary about the photographic work of the Reutlingers in Paris between 1850-1937.

Most of the biographical informations of this page here refer to Bourgeron's book.



Les Reutlinger


Charles Reutlinger

* February 25th 1816, Karlsruhe (Germany)
† 1881 (?) or after 1891 (?) Paris (?)

Charles Reutlinger was born at Karlsruhe, Germany, and after travelling as a daguerreotypist in southern Germany, he moved to Paris in 1850, to establish an own photo studio, first at Boulevard Saint Martin, then 1851 at Boulevard Montmartre 21.
Soon he became a successful portrait photographer of politicians, poetrists and philosophers. In 1862 he joined the Société Francaise de Photographie. His photos were shown at several World Exhibitions at Berlin, Paris, Hamburg an Wien, and he was rewarded with several gold medals.

Recommended Website:


Charles Reutlinger

Émile Auguste Reutlinger

* August 27th 1825, Karlsruhe (Germany)
† August 5th 1907, Baden (Germany)

Émile Reutlinger, the brother of Charles Reutlinger, was born at Karlsruhe, Germany, too, but first emigrated to the U.S.A. (Memphis?) in about 1848. In 1860 he married Amélia Ellen Horn at Lima, Peru. In 1870 he returned with his family to Europe, first Stuttgart, Germany, later Paris. After retirement of his brother Charles he took over his photo studio at Paris in 1880. Èmile changed the photographic style more to portraits of people, especially women, from society and arts and also did nude photographies. After some years of collaboration with his son Léopold, he committed the Studio Reutlinger to him in 1890.

Recommended Website:


Émile Reutlinger

Léopold Émile Reutlinger

* March 17th 1860, Callao (Peru)
† March 16th 1937, Paris (France)

Léopold Reutlinger was born at Callao, Peru, son of Émile Reutlinger and Amélia Ellen Horn. After returning to Europe with his family he married Jeanne Seure at Paris in 1890, the sister of Céline Seure, known as theatre actress Cécile Sorel. During the directorship of his father, he started working as a photographer from 1883 on for the Studio Reutlinger, but practicing more outside the studio and studying at other photographers studios like Barco at Nancy, France, and Boissonas at Geneva, Switzerland. In 1890 he followed his father as the director of the Studio Reutlinger at Boulevard Montmartre 21, and it was Léopold, who brought it to its splendid zenith and reputation as the leading portrait studio at Paris during the Belle Epoque from 1890 on. Léopold put his focus of portrait photography on women and fashion and sold his photos to magazines and newspapers, or published them as postcards, which were commercially produced in large amounts and editions. He invited women from opera, theatres and the varieties like the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergères to get portrayed by him, mostly in gorgeous robes, which often served as leading patterns in fashion style. Numerous series of portraits of stars, starlets and anonymous beauties were produced. Léopold created the famous Reutlinger-signature and used it from 1895 on all of his photographic work. His commercial success was also based on the creation of extensively reproduced postcards, selling all over the world by different publishers. He formed contracts with exclusive publishers, in France the "Société Industrielle de Photographie S.I.P." at Paris, in Germany the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft NPG at Berlin-Steglitz and in Great Britain, the Rotary Photographic Company Ltd. at London.
He remained owner of the Studio Reutlinger until his death in 1937.

Recommended Websites:


Léopold Reutlinger



Jean Léo Reutlinger

* March 19th 1891, Paris (France)
† August 22nd 1914, Lexy (France)

Jean Reutlinger, son of Léopold Reutlinger, worked as a photographer in his father's studio from 1910 on. He fell in battle World War I in 1914.

Jean Reutlinger

Ch. Reutlinger - cabinet card back

Charles Reutlinger - cabinet card

Léopold Reutlinger cabinet photo back

Léopold Reutlinger - cabinet card


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