08 March 2014

Lucienne Chevert

Photographer Lucienne Chevert (1911-1982) portrayed dozens of French stars of the post-war period. She was an associate of the famous French photographer Sam Lévin.

Françoise Arnoul. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 366. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Martine Carol. French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 210 H. Photo: Lucienne Chevert, no. 456.

Jeanne Moreau. French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), no. 620. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Assistant and Associate

Information on Lucienne Chevert is hard to find, but we know the year when she was born: 1911.

In 1934, upcoming photographer Sam Lévin started his own photo studio in Paris and the young Lucienne Chevert became his assistant.

Chevert was only 22 or 23 at the time, but their cooperation at this portrait studio would continue till her death in 1982. Although Lévin was married with another woman, their professional association obviously worked.

In 1935 Sam Lévin was asked to replace a sick photographer at a film set. This proved to be a great start for a career as a set photographer for both him and Chevert.

Chevert is first credited as a set photographer for Dernier atout/The last ace (Jacques Becker, 1942) starring Mireille Balin and Raymond Rouleau. Reportedly a mediocre crime film.

During the French occupation she also made the stills for such films as Sortilèges (Christian-Jaque, 1944), Boule de suif (Christian-Jaque, 1945) with Micheline Presle, and Adieu chérie/Goodbye Darling (Raymond Bernard, 1945) with Danielle Darrieux.

Suzy Delair. French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 128. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Bernard Blier. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 369. Offered by Les Carbones Korès. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Simone Renant. French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 153. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Lesbian Photographer

Very successful was Lucienne Chevert's cooperation with famous film director Henri-Georges Clouzot. It started with Quai des Orfèvres/Quay of the Goldsmiths (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1947) for which she made beautiful star portraits of Louis Jouvet, Bernard Blier, Suzy Delair and Simone Renant.

Renant plays the photographer Dora, who works for the artists of the music halls and night clubs. One of her clients is her neighbour, the singer Jenny Lamour (Delair). It's clear by the way Dora interacts with Jenny that she is a lesbian and thus Dora is one of the first gay characters in the cinema.

Chevert of course made Dora's beautiful photos of Jenny Lamour, who were also used in the publicity for the film. Quai des Orfèvres is an excellent film noir with crisp black and white cinematography by Armand Thirard. Chevert gave her stills the same atmosphere. They are now popular items at auctions.

Next Lucienne Chevert made the stills for the comedy Antoine et Antoinette/Antoine and Antoinette (Jacques Becker, 1947) and Le dessous des cartes/Under the Cards (André Cayatte, 1948) starring Madeleine Sologne.

Her definitive breakthrough came with her work for the classic La salaire de la peur/The wages of fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1952) with Yves Montand. La salaire de la peur is a painfully riveting suspense thriller about a suicidally dangerous mission involving trucks and nitroglycerine.

Yves Montand. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 455. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Ingrid Bergman. French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 198. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Dominique Wilms. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 28G. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Beautiful and Sexy Stars

Lucienne Chevert is now only remembered for her set photography but also for her film star portraits. She became one of the most famous celebrity photographers in France and her glamorous portraits of film French actors and especially actresses graced thousands of European film star postcards.

In the intimacy of their beautifully decorated studio and thanks to her friendly character and personal interest, many film stars felt at ease. Her portraits of beautiful and sexy stars as Martine Carol and Françoise Arnoul are exquisite.

She made portraits of many stars of the French cinema of the 1950s, including Charles Aznavour, Eddie Constantine and Yves Montand. International stars like Ingrid Bergman and Nadja Tiller also posed for her camera.

Chevert photographed the faces of the Nouvelle Vague, like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jeanne Moreau. Her colour portraits at that time are still fresh and cheerful. And in 1965, she returned to set photography for Agnes Varda’s classic Le Bonheur (1965).

Le Bonheur was one of her last known professional activities. Lucienne Chevert died in 1982.

Jean-Paul BelmondoFrench postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 77. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Juliette Mayniel. French postcard by EDUG (Editions du Globe), no. 45. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Jean Sorel. French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 143. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

This is the nineth post in a series on film star photographers. Earlier posts were on the Reutlinger Studio in Paris, Italian star photographer Attilio Badodi, the German photographer Ernst Schneider, Dutch photo artist Godfried de Groot, Milanese photographers Arturo Varischi and Giovanni Artico, the French Studio Lorelle, the British 'royal' photographer Dorothy Wilding, and last week: Berlin duo Becker & Maass.

Sources: UniFrance Films, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

No comments: