Miss Fernande

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Fernande was Jean Agélou’s favourite model. He photographed her for several years, but she also posed for other photographers. The first photos of her appeared in the erotic magazine L’Étude Académique in July 1910, and the last known photos by Agélou were made in 1913. Little is known about her life. L’Étude Académique of 15 February 1911 mentioned her age of 18, which means that she was born in 1893. She was presumably Agélou’s lover and maybe she worked as a prostitute. A found postcard with her image contains the handwritten text My photo in 1912, Fernande, and a stamp with the text Miss Fernande, 7 Passage de Flandre, Paris. She might have used the postcards as business cards. Fernande was arguably the first pin-up model in history, and her photos are still cherished today by collectors.

Miss Fernande appears on French postcards, paper card stereoviews and glass stereoviews that were published by multiple publishers.

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.

Bibliography

  • Bourdon, C. and Agélou, J.B. (2006) Jean Agélou: de l’académisme à la photographie de charme, pp. 155-157.
  • Farina, F. (1989) Venus unveiled, pp. 22, 23

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