A carte-de-visite portrait of a ballet dancer identified simply as 'Mérante '.
Zina Mérante was born in Russia in 1832; she first became known to Paris audiences under the name Zina Richard. In July 1861 she married choreographer and fellow dancer Louis Mérante. She died at Courbevoie on 13 September 1890.
That said, I'm not convinced that this is her, as the lady seen here doesn't really look like other portraits of Zina Mérante that I've sold in the past. That Mérante had a much more Russian face than this dancer. However, it could simply be that this photographer has taken her from an angle I haven't seen her from before.
Photographed by L. Crémière of 28, rue Laval, Paris.
Léon Crémière, born in Paris in 1831, became the great canine photographer of the 19th century. He apparently entered the photographic profession in the late 1850’s as Crémière & Cie before opening a studio in 1860 or 1861 at 28, rue Laval with Erwin Hanfstaengl, a brother of the noted Munich photographer, Franz Hanfstaengl. Portraits produced in 1861 signed Crémière et Hanfstaengl are consistent with the style of the German master in their use of elaborate fabrics, carved accessories, and deep brown tonality. During the 1860’s, Crémière was best known for his portraits of animals, which won him a honourable mention in London in 1862. He covered various canine contests in 1863, 1865 and 1867, and was commissioned to photograph the Emperor’s hunts. He also continued to produce both cartes-de-visite and large format portraits until the Franco-Prussian War. In the late 1870s, his name reappears in directories at a new address, 111 rue de Saussure.
condition: The print shows a few small imperfections, one of which is in the area of the sitter’s outstretched arm, but is otherwise in excellent condition, with rich, satisfying tones. The mount is clean and firm, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
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