13 August 2020

Photo by Paul Boyer

Today we highlight the French photographer Paul Boyer (1861-1953), located in Paris. He was also credited as Boyer, P. Boyer, and as part of Boyer & Bert. Boyer's name can be seen on many French postcards of stage stars of the Belle Epoque. Many of them, including the divine Sarah Bernhardt, would also act in silent films.

Sarah Bernhardt in Théroigne de Méricourt
French postcard. Sent by mail in 1906. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Sarah Bernhardt in the play Théroigne de Méricourt, by M. Paul Hervieu, produced at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in 1902. Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt (1762–1817) was a singer, orator, and organiser in the French Revolution.

Yvonne de Bray
French postcard in the Les Reines de la Mode series by Croissant, Paris, no. 3375. Photo: Paul Boyer. Yvonne de Bray (1887-1954) was a French stage and screen actress, famous for her role as Sophie in Jean Cocteau's film Les parents terribles (1948).

Jules Truffier
French postcard by PMM. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Jules Truffier (1856-1943) was a respected actor of the Comédie-Française. As far as known, he didn't act in a film, but as a teacher at the Conservatoire (from 1906 onward), he trained future screen actors such as Pierre Blanchar.

French postcard by F.C. & Cie., no. 250. Photo: Boyer & Bert, Paris. French singer and actress Polaire (1874-1939) had a career in the entertainment industry which stretched from the early 1890s to the mid-1930s and encompassed the range from music-hall singer to stage and film actress. Her most successful period professionally was from the mid-1890s to the beginning of the First World War.

Régina Badet
French postcard by N.D. Photo., no. 267. Photo: P. Boyer. French actress and dancer Régina Badet (1876-1949) was a star of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. She also had a short career in the French silent cinema.

Paul Mounet
French postcard. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Paul Mounet (1847–1922), born Jean-Paul Sully, was a French actor of the Comédie Française, who also acted in various Film d'Art films around 1910.

Yvette Guilbert
French postcard by F C & Cie., no. 285. Photo: Boyer & Bert, Paris. Yvette Guilbert (1865-1944) was a French cabaret singer and actress of the Belle Époque. Her ingenious delivery of songs charged with risqué meaning made her famous. She also appeared in some classic silent films.


Paul Boyer (1861–1952) was born Paul-Anatole-Marie-Joseph Boyer in Toulon (Var), in 1861. He was the son of the architect Charles Boyer and Séraphine Grec.

Paul studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Later, he invented the use of magnesium for the flash-lamp in photography.

Boyer won many awards. He got the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, a world's fair held in Paris. He also participated in the Moscow exhibition. In 1891, he was nominated Knight of the Legion of Honor.

He had a studio at 35 boulevard des Capucines in Paris. There he made numerous portraits of actors, actresses, and other personalities of his time. These were often published on cabinet cards and on postcards. Several of these postcards were published by F. C. & Cie. (Frederick Charles Cooper), located in Eastbourne, England.

At the Exposition Universelle of 1900, Boyer was a member of the awarding jury. He was also decorated as an officer des Palmes Académiques, officer of Nichan Iftikhar, and officer of Lion and Sun.

Paul Boyer was active until 1908. He passed away in Paris in 1952.

Mistinguett and Max Dearly
French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 283. Photo: Boyer & Bert. Collection: Didier Hanson. Max Dearly (1874-1943) was a French actor, famous for his parts in 1930s French sound film but also for his previous career in Parisian vaudeville. French actress and singer Mistinguett (1875-1956) captivated Paris with her risqué routines. She went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest-paid female entertainer in the world. She appeared more than 60 times in the cinema.

Edouard de Max
French postcard by F.C. et Cie, no. 163. Photo: Paul Boyer. Actor Édouard de Max (1869-1924) was a leading man and monstre sacré of the French stage. He also appeared in silent films of the 1910s and the 1920s, including two versions of the The Three Musketeers.

Marguerite Moreno
French postcard, no. 1/11. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Marguerite Moreno in 'La Sorcière' at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, Paris. Moreno performed in this play by Victorien Sardou in 1903.

Albert Lambert Fils
French postcard by F.C. et Cie, no. 166. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Albert Lambert (1865-1941), aka Albert Lambert fils, was a French stage and screen actor, who was for a long time part of the Comédie-Française. He also played in several early French Film d’Art films, first of all, L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise/The Assassination of the Duke de Guise (1908).

French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 244. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Publicity still for the stage play 'Le Passant' by François Coppée (1869). Robinne played the role of Zanetto in travesty. Gabrielle Robinne (1886-1980) was a French stage and film actress, who had the peak of her film career in the 1910s.

Louis Ravet
French postcard, no. 7. Photo: Boyer. Louis Ravet (1870-1933) was a French stage and screen actor. Ravet, who first acted at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and the Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique, was Pensionnaire of the Comédie-Française from 1899 to 1919, playing in the classics by Corneille, Hugo, and most often, Racine.

Pierre Laugier
French postcard by PMM. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Pierre Laugier (1864-1907) was an actor of the Comédie Française from 1885, becoming sociétaire in 1894. Memorable parts he had in 'Tartuffe' (Orgon), 'L'Avare' by Molière, 'Les Folies amoureuses' (Albert) by Jean-François Regnard, 'Le Gendre de M. Poirier' by Emile Augier and Jules Sandeau, 'Il ne faut jurer de rien' by Alfred de Musset, and 'Thermidor' by Victorien Sardou. He died, aged just 42, from scarlet fever at the bedside of one of his two daughters. As far as known he didn't act in films.

Sources: Wikipedia and The Cabinet Card Gallery.

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