Arnold Genthe (1869-1942, German-American-Photographer)

Arnold Genthe cats in photographyArnold Genthe (1869-1942) a self taught early 20th century photographer originally studied the classics and had earned a doctorate in Philology before deciding to pursue photography.  Born and raised in Berlin, he travelled to the Unites States and decided he did not want to return.  Genthe wrote in his autobiography, “I belonged in this new country which had broadened my horizons, opened my eyes to a new conception of life and shown me a way to satisfy my desire for beauty.” He never returned to Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 1918. Probably most famous for his photos of the devastation of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, he was also known for his work in portraiture.  He photographed U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson  who remarked, “I had to hold myself tight while I was looking at those pictures. I was so carried away with delight.”  The philanthropist and founder of Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller as well as the elusive actress Greta Garbo and the well known dancers of the day Anna Pavlova and Isadora Duncan sat for him.  He even persuaded the author Jack London to shed his clothing for a rather risqué photo.  Genthe was one of the first photographers to experiment  with color photographs and was the first to have a color photograph on the cover of a magazine.  Beginning in 1906, Genthe photographed a number of socialites and young girls with a cat he named Buzzer. Using four different cats all named Buzzer, the series of photographs spans over ten years.   Each of the women in the photographs exudes either a matronly or seductive aura while Buzzer in some photos looks as if he can barely tolerate being in the arms of these socialites. Perhaps the use of the cat was meant more as a symbol of the duality of the female nature instead of depicting the snobbish intolerance and indifference of Buzzer.  

Genthe wrote in his autobiography, As I Remember (1936), “It is told that at the age of four, when I was taken by the nurse to look at my newly arrived brother Hugo, I seriously remarked, ‘I’d like a little kitten better.’ I am fond of dogs, but cats have always meant more to me, and they have been the wise and sympathetic companions of many a solitary hour.”

 

 

 

Miss Lu Lentz and Buzzer the Cat 1910

Miss Lu Lentz and Buzzer the Cat 1910

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910 vintage cats

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910

 

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910

 

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910 cats in photography

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat 1910

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolly with Buzzer the Cat 1913 women and cats

Dolly with Buzzer the Cat 1913

 

 

Dancer Elizabeth Duncan (sister of Isadora) with Buzzer the Cat

Dancer Elizabeth Duncan (sister of Isadora) with Buzzer the Cat

 

 

 

Miss Ann Murdock and Buzzer the Cat in color 1910

Miss Ann Murdock and Buzzer the Cat in color 1910

 

Mrs. M. Erraguriz with Buzzer the Cat 1919

Mrs. M. Erraguriz with Buzzer the Cat 1919

 

Mrs. Erraguriz with Buzzer the Cat 1919

Mrs. Erraguriz with Buzzer the Cat 1919

 


Miss Mona Pujo with Buzzer the Cat

Miss Mona Pujo with Buzzer the Cat

 

Mrs. Bernice Ballard with Buzzer the Cat 1916

Mrs. Bernice Ballard with Buzzer the Cat 1916

 

 

 

Woman with a Feather Hat with Buzzer the Cat 1910

Woman with a Feather Hat with Buzzer the Cat 1910

 

 

Mrs. Arthur Hinckley with Buzzer the Cat vintage photos of cats

Mrs. Arthur Hinckley
with Buzzer the Cat

 

 

Miss Blanche Gervais with Buzzer the Cat

Miss Blanche Gervais with Buzzer the Cat

 

 

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat

Unknown Woman with Buzzer the Cat

 

Miss Cumner with Buzzer the Cat

Miss Cumner with Buzzer the Cat

 

Unknown Woman with a Siamese Cat

Unknown Woman with a Siamese Cat

 

 

 

Buzzer the Cat with a Statue of a Cat

Buzzer the Cat with a Statue of a Cat 1930’s

 

 


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laura Vocelle

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