elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Baron Adolph de Meyer, Olga de Meyer & Ernest Frohlich

Baron Adolph de Meyer (1 September 1868 – 6 January 1946) was a photographer famed for his elegant photographic portraits in the early 20th century, many of which depicted celebrities such as Mary Pickford, Rita Lydig, Luisa Casati, Billie Burke, Irene Castle, John Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Ruth St. Denis, King George V of the United Kingdom, and Queen Mary. He was also the first official fashion photographer for the American magazine Vogue, appointed to that position in 1913.

Reportedly born in Paris and educated in Dresden, Adolphus Meyer was the son of a German Jewish father and Scottish mother—Adolphus Louis Meyer and his wife, the former Adele Watson.

In 1893 he joined the Royal Photographic Society and moved to London in 1895. (Drawing of Olga de Meyer by John Singer Sargent, 1907)

He used the surnames Meyer, von Meyer, de Meyer, de Meyer-Watson, and Meyer-Watson at various times in his life. From 1897 he was known as Baron Adolph Edward Sigismond de Meyer, though some contemporary sources list him as Baron Adolph von Meyer and Baron Adolph de Meyer-Watson.

In editions dating from 1898 until 1913, Whitaker's Peerage stated that de Meyer's title had been granted in 1897 by Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, though another source states "the photographer inherited it from his grandfather in the 1890s". Some sources state that no evidence of this nobiliary creation, however, has been found.


Olga de Meyer was an artists' model, socialite, patron of the arts, writer, and fashion figure of the early 20th century. She was best known as the wife of photographer Adolph de Meyer and was rumored to be the natural daughter of King Edward VII. Violet Trefusis said of the de Meyers—who counted Olga among her lovers and whose mother, Alice Keppel, was Edward VII's mistress—as "Pederaste and Médisante" because, as Trefusis observed, "He looked so queer and she had such a vicious tongue."


Baron Adolph de Meyer was the first official fashion photographer for the American magazine Vogue. After the death of his wife, Baron de Meyer became romantically involved with a young German, Ernest Frohlich, whom he hired as his chauffeur and later adopted as his son. The latter went by the name Baron Ernest Frohlich de Meyer. From 1898 to 1913, de Meyer lived in fashionable Cadogan Gardens, London, and between 1903 and 1907 his work was published in Alfred Stieglitz's quarterly Camera Work.




Fashion Picture by Adolf de Meyer, Vanity Fair Janvier 1920


Unidentified woman, half-length portrait, facing right, viewed from behind. From the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection at the Library of Congress.


Dolores by Adolf de Meyer, published in Vogue the May 1, 1919


Fashion picture by Adolf de Meyer


Jeanne Toussaint 1920 by Adolf de Meyer

On 25 July 1899, at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, Cadogan Square, in London, England, de Meyer married Donna Olga Caracciolo, an Italian noblewoman who had been divorced earlier that year from Nobile Marino Brancaccio; she was a goddaughter of Edward VII. The couple reportedly met in 1897, at the home of a member of the Sassoon banking family, 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. As Baron de Meyer wrote in an unpublished autobiographical novel, before they wed, he explained to Olga "the real meaning of love shorn of any kind of sensuality". He continued by observing, "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."

After the death of his wife in 1930/31, Baron de Meyer became romantically involved with a young German, Ernest Frohlich (born circa 1914), whom he hired as his chauffeur and later adopted as his son. The latter went by the name Baron Ernest Frohlich de Meyer.

From 1898 to 1913 de Meyer lived in fashionable Cadogan Gardens, London, and between 1903 and 1907 his work was published in Alfred Stieglitz's quarterly Camera Work. Cecil Beaton dubbed him "the Debussy of photography". In 1912 he photographed Nijinsky in Paris.

On the outbreak of World War I, the de Meyers, who in 1916 took the new names of Mahrah and Gayne, on the advice of an astrologer, 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.

On the eve of World War II in 1938, de Meyer returned to the United States, and found that he was a relic in the face of the rising modernism of his art.

He died in Los Angeles in 1946, his death being registered as 'Gayne Adolphus Demeyer, writer (retired)'. Today, few of his prints survive, most having been destroyed during World War II. It can be said that De Meyer was one of the few who gave up everything for his Art even the choice of love after all what living could a photographer make? Till he got to Vogue and become the highest paid photographer in the world.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolph_de_Meyer

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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