Jules Richard
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert

Portrait of Yvette Guilbert, with the reflection of the photographer in a mirror
Jules Richard (1848-1930)
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert, with the reflection of the photographer in a mirror
Circa 1900
Positive stereo image on glass taken with a Richard Verascope
H. 4.3; W. 4.3 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski


Portrait of Yvette Guilbert, with the reflection of the photographer in a mirror

Portrait d'Yvette Guilbert, avec reflet du photographe dans un miroir [Portrait of Yvette Guilbert, with the reflection of the photographer in a mirror]


The Parisian singer and fortune-teller Yvette Guilbert, immortalised by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Steinlen, Cappiello and so many others, was photographed here by Jules Richard. He used his preferred format that he developed and then patented in 1893 under the name of the "Richard Verascope". Taking the principles of stereoscopic photography that appeared at the beginning of the 1850s, this process, destined for amateurs restored "absolute perspective and relief", according to its inventor. It was instantly a great success, partly because it was easy to use. It remained in use until the 1930s.

Although we are not aware of the exact circumstances of its production, the overt presence of the "photographer photographing", Jules Richard himself, in the middle ground of the photo, and the subtle use of mirrors accentuating the depth of field, make it likely that this shot was intended for a publicity campaign. The singer's picture was then used to promote the qualities of the "Vérascope", and it is well known how much care and importance Jules Richard attached to these campaigns.




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