20 October 2011

Atelier Manassé

Atelier Manassé was a legendary Austrian photo studio that captured the golden age of cinema and cabaret in Vienna of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The studio, active in Vienna between 1922 and 1938, was founded by husband and wife Adorján von Wlássics (1893 - 1946) and Olga Spolarics (1896 - 1969).

Liane Haid
Liane Haid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5034/1, 1930 - 1931. Photo: Manassé, Wien (Vienna).

Lily Damita
Lily Damita. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5517/2, 1930 - 1931. Photo: Manassé, Wien (Vienna).

Anita Dorris
Anita Dorris. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5030/1, 1930 - 1931. Photo: Manassé, Wien (Vienna).

Glimpses Into the World of Glamour
In the early 1920´s the film industry skyrocketed and publications aimed to satisfy a public obsessed with glimpses into the world of glamour. Atelier Manassé published around 1924 their first photos in magazines. Many film stars and starlets were photographed in the studio, for example, Rudolph Valentino (around 1922), Betty Bird (around 1926) and Lil Dagover (around 1930). Atelier Manassé created masterpieces, employing all the techniques of makeup, retouching, and overpainting to keep their subjects happy while upholding an uncompromised artistic vision.

Ruth Weyher
Ruth Weyher. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5037/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Wien. (Vienna).

Vera Voronina
Vera Voronina. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3654/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Vienna.

Ossi Oswalda
Ossi Oswalda. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4244/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Vienna.

Nude Photography
Atelier Manassé also gained a high degree of popularity in the 1920’s through erotic photographs, mainly of women. Olga seems to have been the one interested in the nude photography. Atelier Manassé exhibited at the 1st International Salon of Nude Photography in Paris in 1933. The artists liked to combine erotic with surreal motifs in their photographs. They used retouching techniques to create surreal and noir images that seethe with an erotic symbolism barely concealed beneath a mask of glorious styling, elegant poses, and extravagant costumes.

Gretl Berndt
Gretl Berndt. German postcard by Ross Verlag, nr. 5326/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Wien.

Ossi Oswalda
Ossi Oswalda. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1347/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Manassé, Wien.

Mary Kid
Mary Kid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3348/3, 1928-1929. Photo: Manassé, Wien.

Divas and lovers
When Adorján von Wlássics and Olga Spolarics opened a new studio in Berlin, their business in Vienna was managed more and more by an associate. They operated under various names, including Wlasics (the first name of the studio), WOG (in their Berlin studio) and Manassé-Ricoll (after the studio in Vienna was operated by an associate). After the death of Adorján von Wlassics in 1947, the fame of the studio faded. Olga remarried and died in 1969. In 1998 their photos were rediscovered through the publication Divas and lovers: the erotic art of Studio Manassé, written by photographic historian Monika Faber and David Herbert Lawrence. The blog Studio Manasse regularly posts pictures of Adorján Wlássics and Olga Spolarics.

Lien Deyers
Lien Deyers. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8842/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Wien.

Traudl Stark
Traudl Stark. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1177/2, 1937-1938. Photo: Manassé-Ricoll, Vienna/Mondial-Film.

Traudl Stark
Traudl Stark. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1276/1, 1937-1938. Photo: Manassé-Ricoll, Vienna/Mondial-Film.

Sources: Billyjane & Drake Caperton (Studio Manasse), and Wikipedia (German).


Didier H Baron of A. said...

Important to know that Manasse published also pictures frankly sexual,on the edge of " pornography"'particularly with bd sm tendancies....They are of course by far harder to locate,as you can imagine...But Manasse ,as A.Binder is one of the most famous ateliers of this period.Unfortunately,as the majority of those photographers were jews,they had to emigrate ,or cease their activity...or else.,when NSDAP came to power.They were replaced by ateliers as Quick,Binz,Starstudio u.a.
I don't judge the intrinsic value of those new photographers,in the line of NSDAP aesthetism.And although Ross verlag was still existing ,the founder had fled Germany ,but they keep the name nevertheless.
Consequently no more eroticism or ose pictures.
Remember Adolf Hitler phrase(I quote)"The only pornography tolerated by the Reich is antisemitism "
All is said...

Baron of A.


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Bob of Holland said...

@Didier: thanks for this great bit of history. It's appreciated. I love as well the work of Atelier Manassé as that of Alex Binder (do you know more about his French period?) Both are uncomparable with their followers in Germany. But German postcards still brought eroticism during the Nazi period. Check out my La Jana post for instance. Va-va-voom.
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