Thursday, February 20, 2014


Baron Adolf De Meyer was born in Paris, he was the first official fashion photographer for the American magazine Vogue and Vanity Fair in 1913, a post he abruptly abandoned in 1923 to work for rival Harper's Bazaar, he was meticulous, eccentric, a dandy, an arbiter of taste and trends who immortalized the first three decades of twentieth-century society and shaped the genre of fashion photography. De Meyer married Olga Caracciolo, an Italian noblewoman, and Olga would be the subject of many of her husband's photographs. The de Meyers' marriage was one of marriage of convenience rather than romantic love, since the groom was homosexual and the bride was bisexual or lesbian. Meyer wrote "Marriage based too much on love and unrestrained passion has rarely a chance to be lasting, whilst perfect understanding and companionship, on the contrary, generally make the most durable union."
 On the outbreak of World War I, the de Meyers moved to New York City, where he became a photographer for Vogue from 1913–21, and for Vanity Fair. In 1922 de Meyer accepted an offer to become the Harper's Bazaar chief photographer in Paris, spending the next 16 years there. De Mayer began doing flattering photographs of Belle Époque aristocrats, actors, financiers, and industrialists. His portraits of the sparkling beauties of the fin de siècle Smart Set were his calling card to a position and profession in Edwardian society. He introduced the use of dramatic lighting, of a male model, and of two or more models in the same picture. His influences included the Impressionists, and the Symbolist artists Klimt and Watts, as well as Whistler. A great manipulator of light and shadow, he also veiled his lens in gauze, extensively used backlighting, inserted light sources in unexpected places, and retouched directly on the negative.
 In the 1920s, the de Meyers returned to Europe. As they aged, it is reported, they became increasingly dependent on cocaine and opium. The baron’s career deteriorated as younger photographers, armed with the new 35mm camera, began stepping out of the confines of the studio and scoffing at the soft-focus lens. After Olga died, de Meyer destroyed much of his work and adopted his young lover as his son. He dies in Beverly Hills penniless and forgotten in Hollywood.

Jeanne Eagels

Elizabeth Arden-Advertisement-1926

1921 Baron de Meyer, Ballerina Desiree Lubovska Desiree Lubovska standing by a window, wearing a dark dress in Georgette crepe, with fringed waist, by Jean Patou

Elizabeth Arden-Advertisement-1926

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney -AmericanVogue1917

Nijinsky in L'après-midi d'un faune - 1912

Vogue 1921


  1. Beautiful pictures from an amazing dedicated photographer in Paris.


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