|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 carte-de-visite and large format portraits until the Franco-Prussian War. In the late 1870’s, his name reappears in directories at a new address, 111 rue de Saussure.
During the 1860’s he directed a sporting magazine, Le Centaure: Journal de Sport Illustré. Subscribers had a choice between the 12-francs-a-year series with lithographed plates, or for 60 francs a year, the deluxe photographic edition with tipped-in albumen prints. . In the issues preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, portraits of winning horses, their jockeys and their owners, alternate with portraits of other sporting celebrities.
An albumen print measuring 3.9” by 5.4” (99 mm by 139 mm), mounted on a slightly larger piece of card with printed, decorated borders and Crémière’s details printed in the lower margin. This mount is in turn pasted to a slightly larger section of cut-down album page.
A pencilled inscription below the print in a period hand reads Race Levrier.
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