Yul Brynner : A Photographic Journey

 Yul Brynner, photographic genius

Award-winning actor Yul Brynner was also an accomplished photographer. Now, for the first time, his daughter has assembled a collection of her father’s photos from the early 1950s through the 1980s, representing the entire span of his stage and film career. Here are behind-the-scenes shots of stars, affectionate photos of his family, and much more. 210 photos, 27 in color.

On July 11, 1920, Yul Brynner was born Yuli Borisovich Bryner in the turbulent and revolutionary climate of Vladivostok, Russia.  His father, Boris Bryner, was a mining engineer and his mother, Marousia Blagovidova, who came from the intelligentsia, was an actress and singer. Yul grew up with a variety of languages swirling around the household including Russian, English, French, Chinese, Korean, Czech and Japanese.  When he was 6 years old, the family moved to Harbin, China, where he and his sister, Vera, attended a school run by the YMCA. Yul’s parents divorced in 1934, and with an increasingly chaotic military environment, Brynner’s mother decided to move with the children to Paris.  At this time in the late nineteenth century, Paris was the undisputed Mecca of the European arts, and the children were enrolled at Lycée Moncelle, one of the city’s top schools. During this time, Yul focused on his skills as a guitar player.

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How to learn Hebew in an hour…in 1675

By Wilhelm Schickard – “horologium ebraeum”

Rare book wrote by W. Schickard and printed in 1675 (first edition). It’s a textbook of Hebrew divided into 24 chapters, each chapter containing material which could be learnt in an hour.

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Who was Wilhelm Schickard ?

Wilhelm Schickard (22 April 1592 – 24 October 1635) was a German professor of Hebrew and Astronomy who became famous in the second part of the 20th century after Dr. Franz Hammer, a biographer (along with Max Caspar) of Johannes Kepler, claimed that the drawings of a calculating clock, predating the public release of Pascal’s calculator by twenty years, had been discovered in two unknown letters written by Schickard to Johannes Kepler in 1623 and 1624.

Dr. Hammer asserted that because these letters had been lost for three hundred years, Blaise Pascal had been called and celebrated as the inventor of the mechanical calculator in error during all this time.

After careful examination it was found that Schikard’s drawings had been published at least once per century starting from 1718, that his machine was not complete and required additional wheels and springsand that it was designed around a single tooth carry mechanism that didn’t work properly when used in calculating clocks.

Schickard’s machine was the first of five unsuccessful attempts of designing a direct entry calculating clock in the 17th century (including the designs of Tito Burattini, Samuel Morland and René Grillet). Schickard’s work had no impact on the development of mechanical calculators.

Wilhelm Schickard died of the bubonic plague in Tübingen, on 23 or 24 October 1635. In 1651, Giovanni Riccioli named the lunar crater Schickard after him.

The will of an eccentric… Jules Verne

Le testament d’un excentrique (The will of an eccentric) – 1900

Vintage french book : Le Testament d’un excentrique (english: The Will of an Eccentric, 1900) is an adventure novel written by Jules Verne based on the Game of the Goose.

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Plot synopsis :

William J. Hypperbone, an eccentric millionaire, living in Chicago, has left the sum of his fortune, $60,000,000, to the first person to reach the end of “The Noble Game of the United States of America”. The game he devised is based upon the board game “The Noble Game of Goose”; however, in his version, the players are the tokens and the game board is the United States. The contestants are Max Real (with his companion Tommy); Tom Crabbe (with his trainer John Milner); Hermann Titbury (with his wife Kate); Harris T. Kymbale (on his own); Lizzie Wag (with her friend Jovita Foley); Hodge Urrican (with his companion Turk) and the mysterious player only known as “XKZ”. And who is this mysterious “XKZ” who was added to the game by a codicil to the will? Time and completion of the game will tell.Verne-Te-full(courtesy of D. Kytasaari)

Jules  Verne; (1828 – 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.jules-verne-génie

Born to bourgeois parents in the seaport of Nantes, Verne was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages Extraordinaires*, a widely popular series of scrupulously researched adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children’s books, not least because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.

Verne is the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, between the English-language writers Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare, and probably was the most-translated during the 1960s and 1970s.He is one person sometimes called “The Father of Science Fiction,” as are H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

*The Voyages Extraordinaires (literally Extraordinary Voyages or Extraordinary Journeys) are a sequence of fifty-four novels by the French writer Jules Verne, originally published between 1863 and 1905. According to Verne’s editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the goal of the Voyages was “to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format … the history of the universe.”

Verne’s meticulous attention to detail and scientific trivia, coupled with his sense of wonder and exploration, form the backbone of the Voyages. Part of the reason for the broad appeal of his work was the sense that the reader could really learn something of geology, biology, astronomy, paleontology, oceanography and the exotic locations and cultures of world through the adventures of Verne’s protagonists. This great wealth of information distinguished his works as “encyclopedic novels”.

In the system developed by Hetzel for the Voyages Extraordinaires, each of Verne’s novels was published successively in several different formats. This resulted in as many as four distinct editions of each text (labeled here according to current practice for Verne bibliographies):

  • Éditions pré-originales (pre-original editions): Serialization in a periodical, usually Hetzel’s own biweekly Magasin d’Éducation et de récréation (“Magazine of Education and Recreation”, founded 1864). The serialized installments were illustrated by artists on Hetzel’s staff, such as Édouard Riou, Léon Benett, and George Roux.
  • Éditions originales (original editions): complete unillustrated texts published in book form at 18mo size. (Similar versions in the slightly larger 12mo size, with illustrations taken from the serialization, are also considered éditions originales.)
  • Cartonnages dorés et colorés (gilded and colored bindings): Complete editions of the text, published in grand in-8º (“large octavo”) book form with a lavishly decorated cover. These deluxe editions, designed for Christmas and New Year’s markets, include most or all of the illustrations from the serializations.

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“Form” by Horst P. Horst… finally !

“Form”, a rare book

Horst P. Horst (1906 – 1999 ) – Autographed book

Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann (August 14, 1906 – November 18, 1999) who chose to be known as Horst P. Horst was a German-American fashion photographer.

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Collected here from sixty years of work are many of Horst’s most elegant photographs. Nudes, plant forms,still lifesform, and fashion pictures comprise this selection from some of his most famous images to lesser-known and often unpublished work. Printed in exquisite, large format sheet-fed gravures, these photographs are the most beautiful and finest reproductions ever made of Horst’s work.
Form/ Horst. Ed. Twin Palms, 1992.

11 x 14 Inches
72 Sheet-fed Gravure Plates
144 Pages

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In the history of twentieth-century fashion and portrait photography, Horst’s contribution figures as one of the most artistically significant and long lasting, spanning as it did the sixty years between 1931 and 1991. During this period, his name became legendary as a one-word photographic byline, and his photographs came to be seen as synonymous with the creation of images of elegance, style and rarefied glamour.

Born on 14 August 1906, Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann was the second son of a prosperous middle class Protestant shop owner, Max Bohrmann and his wife, Klara Schoenbrodt.

The first pictures that carried a Horst credit line appeared in the December 1931 issue of French Vogue. It was a full-page advertisement showing a model in black velvet holding a Klytia scent bottle in one hand with the other hand raised elegantly above it… Horst’s real breakthrough as a published fashion and portrait photographer was in the pages of British VogueHORST_P_HORST_LISA_AS_ VOGUE_1932_Fstarting with the 30 March 1932 issue showing three fashion studies and a full-page portrait of the daughter of Sir James Dunn, the art patron and supporter of Surrealism.

War was declared between America and Germany on 7 December 1941. Horst was called up for service, though he was not officially enrolled until July 1943. The late 1930s and early 1940s were his most productive years, during which he excelled at working with 10-x-8 inch colour transparencies both for covers and for portrait and fashion sittings…
As a typical example of wartime escapism, the Rita Hayworth film Cover Girl (1944) provided Horst with the opportunity to produce one of his most sumptuous film-star covers in a montage of seven different portraits of the cover girl Susann Shaw set against a silk design. His picture of Loretta Young became an almost immediate classic when it was featured in a special edition of Vogue which included masterpieces of photography selected by (classic photographer Edward) Steichen to show off the first hundred years of the medium.

Pictures taken in Europe in the 1950s, away from studio interference from the new Vogue editor, had a startling plein-air quality. They ranged from Ian Fleming shot at Kitzbeuhel to an extended essay on the German conductor Herbert von Karajan in his modern sports car at his Austrian retreat… Horst’s first important trip to Austria occurred in 1952, to work on a major advertising campaign with the new model Suzy Parker, who would become a major star in the 1960s before attempting a film career. In America that same year, he took his first lifestyle house and interior photographs; the sitter was Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlboro and now MMe. Jacques Balsan. This series, encouraged by Diana Vreeland during her time at Vogue, was to continue into the 1980s in both Vogue and House and Garden and was to be collected in the book Horst: Interiors by Barbara Plumb (1983).

The 1960s started well for American Vogue with the appointment of the larger than life ‘Empress of Fashion’, Diana Vreeland, as Editor-in-Chief. Vreeland served from 1961 until 1971, when a change of approach was deemed necessary. Horst was assigned some of the leading players of the time and produced a number of archetypal images of this energetic decade.

The 1970s remains the decade that good, timeless style overlooked, and work for Horst was necessarily sparse… However, Horst’s rediscovery by a new group of 1980’s style-seeking enthusiasts resulted in increasing commissions…
Horst was commissioned to take nine photographs which appeared in February 1980. This was the most popular issue of Life in that year, selling 1.5 million copies. It led to a book contract and continued work with (editor James) Watters, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of early Hollywood stars made him the ideal interviewer as the two men travelled round America to produce their best-selling book Return Engagement: Faces to Remember – Then and Now (1984).

Horst’ career can be said to have reached Old Master status when the world’s most famous pop goddess, Madonna, created her celebrated hymn to classic fashion photography with her single Vogue in 1990. In the video directed by David Fincher, she posed as a recreation of Horst’s most iconic fashion image, a model seen from behind, wearing a partially tied, back-laced corset made by Detolle.

In his approach to portraiture, Horst set out to create a parallel aspirational universe in which his subjects became mysterious and alluring. Bruce Weber, one of many photographers influenced by Horst, artfully described his feelings about Horst’s work in a 1992 television documentary: ‘The elegance of his photographs … took you to another place, very beautifully … the untouchable quallity of the people is really interesting as it gives you something of a distance … it’s like seeing somebody from another world … and you wonder who that person is and you really want to know that person and really want to fall inlove with that person’.