In my previous post about this photo, I attached an image of the back. I suggested that there may be more clues as to the identity of the sitter, if only I could read German. I was convinced that the photo is of a man. My friends thought it was a woman. Now thanks to a reader, Wolff Postler, we have a translation of the inscription. Wolff writes –
As far as I could decipher it, the notice reads:
Möll(?) zum Andenken
an den fremden
This translates as “To my lodging mother Möll as a memory of the strange (weird) brother of liberty Ludwig Rot…”
The places marked by (?) are not readable.
Hope that helps – at least it confirms your speculation about a boheminan of some sort.
The translation confirms this to be a man who is seen and sees himself as strange. What “brother of liberty” meant in Pre-WW2 Germany, I cannot say. Hearty thanks to Wolff for making this interesting photo even more fascinating!
I bought this 1930s photobooth photo thinking it was of a very unusual looking man with an even more unusual fashion sense – a bohemian, arty type. No one to whom I have shown the photo agrees. The argument is that a man of that era wouldn’t have hair styled in that way nor wear a hat, shirt or velvet coat such as these. What do you think?
The photo came from Germany and has this information on the back. I’d say the signature was Ludwig something, definitely a male name, but it may not be a signature at all. I’m sure there will be more clues to the identity of the sitter if I could read more of the inscription.
I didn’t have a post scheduled for today but when this gem arrived in the mail yesterday I couldn’t wait
to share it.
When I first saw the picture, in a poor scan on Ebay, I assumed the subject was a man. On closer inspection, I have considered the possibility that this is a woman in drag.
The somewhat theatrical mien of the sitter, the subject’s effeminacy, soft features and no signs of facial growth are a start towards this assumption. Additionally the combination of top hat, pipe, glasses and a business suit seem to me to be caricature features of a male of this period, which I estimate to be the 1930s, rather than an ensemble worn at the time.
If it were a man dressed for a night out on the town wouldn’t he be in formal wear? I never saw Fred Astaire or anyone else for that matter, in a top hat without white tie and tails. There is also something about the top hat that suggests to me that it is nothing more than a costumers prop. The brim seems too narrow and thin and the silky sheen of most top hats is missing.
It could of course be a very young man dressed for a play or a fancy dress party.
Anyone else have an opinion? Please let me know by leaving a comment.
Approximate original size relative to the larger scan.
Another favorite from my collection. Look at the broad nose, flat chest and vague signs of a five o’clock shadow. Is it just me or is this also a man in drag or is it simply that there were not as many woman using depilation techniques and make-up in the 30s and 40s? The lack of an adam’s apple could be evidence I am wrong. Maybe it is just me. And my Dad. He also thought it was a man.
I do have a penchant for the androgenous sitter in any photo. I am always on the look out for them. Somewhere, I have hidden away, a brilliant cabinet card photo of a very posh looking “lady” who is the spitting image of actor/author/polymath (and one time comedy partner of House star, Hugh Laurie), Mr Stephen Fry. If you know what he looks like, you will understand that that makes her a very unusual looking woman.
I bought this from one of my favourite online sellers, Albert Tanquero. Check out his store if you have an eye for the curious. The title of this post, She Heard Her Broken Heart Would Heal in Time was used by Albert in the listing of this item. I do love a bit of romantic creativity in an Ebay seller!