L’Étude Académique

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L‘Étude Académique was a French magazine with nude photography. The magazine appeared biweekly from 1904 to 1914. The initiator was the cartoonist Amédée Vignola (1862–1939)1, who published several similar publications. The ostensible purpose of L’Étude Académique was to inspire artists, such as painters and sculptors, but this was simply a trick to cheaply distribute nude photography to subscribers.

Several photographers were active for the magazine. Their photos were usually only signed with initials, because nude photography was more or less tolerated by the French justice, but caution was still needed. L’Étude Académique was distributed in sealed envelopes bearing:

Cette publication ne peut être mise en vente que sous couverture fermée. Il est interdit de la laisser entre les mains des enfants.

(This publication may only be offered for sale in its closed envelope. It is forbidden to leave it in the hands of children).

The envelopes were made from recycled advertising material to keep costs low. The magazine also advertised branded 18 x 24 cm photographs that were sold individually or in series of 12 or 25.

Jean Agélou and L’Étude Académique

Jean Agélou was also active as a photographer for the magazine. His involvement provides some insight into his career and his work. Agélou’s first photos in L’Étude Académique appeared in 1905. His photos were signed with the initials AJ. The photos from a photo session with a model appeared in the magazine, but were sometimes also published by Agélou’s own publishing house as postcard or paper card stereoview series. This helps to date his photographs. Agélou’s favourite model Fernande appeared frequently in the magazine. Based on the photos in the magazine, it can be concluded that Agélou photographed her from 1910 to 1913.

At the end of 1913, photos appeared with the initials GA. These were the initials of Agélou’s younger brother Georges Agélou. It is unclear whether Georges was actually the photographer or that the photos were also made by Jean. It is certain that Georges took over his brother’s publishing house and continued it from c. 19152. Various series of erotic postcards with the initials GA exist.

The next photo was taken during the same photo shoot and published as GP Série 154 postcard. Postcards with the initials GP are also linked to the photography of Agélou, but it is not clear whether the photographer was also the publisher of the GP series.

The last photo of the same model was published as JA Série 507 postcard. The image has similarities with the previous images, but the studio is decorated differently and the model is wearing a different necklace and she appears to be a little younger. The photo might have been taken in 1912 or 1913.

Jean Agélou
Jean Agélou (1878–1921) was a French photographer and publisher of erotic postcards and stereoviews during La Belle Époque. Little is known about his life, and no letters or portraits are known of him. The first nude photos that can be attributed with certainty to him were published in the magazine L’Étude Académique in 1905. The photos that can be linked with certainty to the photographer bear the initials or marks JA, GP, Léo and Lydia. From 1913, postcards were also published with the initials GA, which referred to Jean’s younger brother Georges Agélou (1882–1921) who joined his brother’s publishing company. Jean’s photographs are of a high technical and artistic quality. The decorations and romantic backgrounds create an intimate atmosphere and can today be classified as boudoir photography. Jean and Georges died together in a car accident in Autry-le-Châtel on 2 August 1921.


  1. Amédée Vignola. Via: fr.wikipedia.org ↩︎
  2. Bourdon, C. and Agélou, J.B. (2006) Jean Agélou: de l’académisme à la photographie de charme. p. 45. ↩︎