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In almost perfect condition, this card falls under the category of what French collectors call a précurseur, a card made before the back sides were divided to allow for written communication. Prior to 1904, when the backs of these cards were undivided as this one was, only the recipient's address was allowed on the back side, and often short letters were written on the image side instead. Discovering this, publishers produced picture postcards with small images, often highly decorative, and allowing lots of space for written communication.

We've found very little information on this actress. Born Marie-Louise Philiberte Lucy Gérard in Lyon, France, 1872, the great beauty Lucy Gérard (also Lucie) was a popular stage actress of Belle Epoque France. One of her most famous roles was that of Fanny Essler, or Elssler, an Austrian Ballerina who in the play "l'Aiglon," by Edmond Rostand, was the love interest of Napoleon II. The role of Napoleon II, by the way, was played by the great Sarah Bernhardt. In fact, Rostand wrote the part specifically for her. The play was a huge success, and became one of Sarah Bernhardt's favorites. Playing the romantic lead opposite Bernhard must have been quite a coup, and the postcard image we find most often of Mlle. Gérard is one showing her costumed for that role.

Mlle. Gérard passed away in 1941. We feel a little sad when we think about it, how she was born into a world of horses and carriages, experienced France in one of its most glorious periods, Paris, in one of its most glamorous and hopeful, and then to have died at a time when her world had so dramatically changed, into one of machines and motorcars, with her country occupied by Hitler's forces, no end in sight, and not living long enough to experience the liberation...okay, snap out of it Red :)

Near fine, unposted condition with some writing on the back, slight rounding of the corners, and a particularly lovely Art Nouveau border.
Please examine our high res scans for detail.

The item you are considering for purchase is, unless otherwise noted, a vintage postcard of approximately 5 and 1/2, by 3 and 1/2 inches. Postage is for fully-insured, first class shipping in a secure photo mailer (to avoid any damage to your purchase in the mails), and we happily combine shipping on all paper goods. If you purchase two cards, we will not charge for postage on the second card, and when you purchase three or more cards from us at the same time, your shipping will be entirely free, except for international orders which, because of increases in international shipping rates will still be charged one card's shipping fees on orders of three or more. We do not charge for insurance or shipping materials, and as of the date of this listing are still charging below our overall cost on shipping.

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where we post biographical and historical tidbits, images of cards and photographs for sale, some already sold but remembered fondly, related images of historical interest and sometimes even images of items that have not yet arrived in the shop, but that are expected to arrive soon, as well as coupon codes, links to other related sites, and more!

Lucy Gérard, Stage Actress, by Reutlinger, in Art Nouveau Border, circa 1900


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  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 1524 reviews
  • Favorited by: 2 people