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unidentified French? dancer

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the attached scan shows an undated and unused photo postcard of a perhaps French dancer.

i believe it's from the turn of the 20th c. (all the back says is 'Carte Postale' - so it's likely French-produced; otherwise is has no markings whatsoever.)

i find the colorization especially delicate and pretty.


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I'm trying to figure out why this looks more naturalistic and spontaneous than most studio photos from the period. There's something about her face and the way she gazes off to the side. Also, the pose, with her arms held casually behind her back. Not your usual staging for photographs like these. It makes me wonder what she was like when dancing.

I love way the shoe ribbons dig into the flesh around her ankles. There's something human, and quite touching, about that. She deserves to have her own name.

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i sense a Degas-influenced aspect to the pose.

the shoes look very much like the pointe shoes in Degas-era pictures.

when time permits i can re-scan the shoe area of the foto at higher resolution.

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here now a close-up scan of the photocard and the following quote:

“Even my heart is rather artificial,” Degas wrote in a letter of 1886, which, he continued to note "the dancers have sewn to a bag of pink satin, pink satin slightly faded like their dancing shoes.''


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here now a close-up scan of the photocard...

Thank you, rg. I realize female dancers of the era didn't perform anywhere near the technical level of today, but still, I wouldn't want to spend too much time posing prettily 'en pointe' in those shoes (not to mention the obvious corset).

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