At the bottom right corner of this postcard is the publisher's insignia: NPG. The Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (The New Photographic Society) was a member organization of photographers founded by Arthur Schwarz in Berlin, Germany, in 1894. They became the largest manufacturer of bromide postcards in the world. They printed postcards for other companies, such as Leopold Reutlinger in Paris. The real photo parts of this montage are Reutlinger portraits of Belle Epoque stars.
Notice the woman in the background with her back turned, wearing a tutu. That's Cleo de Merode. Note that one of her legs is poised in a ballerina stance. The "centaur" that steals the scene is the one on the left side and that looks like either Toledo or Otero?? The woman playing the flute is a very common Reutlinger postcard image. She's usually solo in a sparse setting. Now, the next time you see her on a postcard, you'll know the rest of story: that she's actually playing for a centaur party:) Here's a fun idea that I would love to help you with: collect the other original Reutlinger postcards of these women to display with this one!
This is such a fanciful collage and it is quite rare. In my 10+ years of selling and collecting, I've seen it one other time and I've seen literally tens of thousands of postcards. It's such a delightful interpretation of the Art Nouveau "anything Grecian" obsession!
Postally sent in 1904, the undivided back tells us it was actually printed in 1903 or earlier. The corner tips are creased and the white border, which has been written on, shows some soiling. Fortunately, none of this matters because the photo montage itself is incredibly preserved with virtually no surface wear. When held at a angle, you'll see a couple of spots that hint at the beginning of silvering, but overall, this card with its matte finish is simply INCROYABLE:) [unbelievable]. There is foxing verso but it doesn't come through to the front.
Size: 5.5 by 3.5 inches.
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