Maud d’Orby

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The several hundred models that posed for Jean Agélou were amateur models, prostitutes or artists that were recruited in the theatres and nightclubs of Paris. The names of only a few models are known today. Fernande was his most famous model, but the singers Nina Barkis1 and Maud d’Orby also posed for the photographer.

Maud d’Orby (1851–1929) was a singer who was born in Valladolid, Spain. She was a soprano and became popular for her performances in comic operas and operettas. She experienced her greatest successes in France during La Belle Époque, between 1897 and 19082. D’Orby performed in the Parisian theatres such as Olympia, La Scala and La Cigale. She posed for several photographers, and her images appeared in magazines and were published as postcards. D’Orby appears in, at least, six French postcard series that were published by Agélou3. She is pictured clothed or semi-nude, often in extravagant theatre costumes. As far as known, Agélou did not publish any stereoview series with her images.

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. Miss Nina Barkis. Via: ↩︎
  2. Maud d’Orby. Via: ↩︎
  3. Miss Maud d’Orby. Via: ↩︎