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When a glimpse of stocking was something shocking: Vintage erotic postcards of 1920’s flappers
07.17.2017
09:24 am
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Before the First World War, postcards were the Twitter of the day. They were used to share personal news, arrange appointments, or pass on messages of love—though thankfully, there was very little of the trolling we all have to endure today. There was also a small but highly profitable cottage industry for erotic postcards which increased dramatically during the War years. This was one way by which governments and generals thought they could keep the boys on the frontline happy by giving them some reason for fighting—saving the sexy young maidens of France from the hairy, uncouth hands of the Hun, and so forth. Millions of such cards were produced by the French during the War, which led to the moniker “French postcards” being applied to all erotic postcards whether they were made in France or not.

After the War, these naughty French postcard were still popular. This popularity offered some young women some independence and an easy way to make a quick franc or three. There is a genuine innocence about these photographs of young women flashing a white thigh above stocking top, or posing nude like a Greek goddesses, or playacting as a saucy French maid, which make them far more erotic than the bare-all, gynecological pictures of today’s cynical world of porn.
 
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More dirty French postcards, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.17.2017
09:24 am
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Erotic French postcards from the early 1900s (NSFW)
08.10.2016
01:06 pm
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Erotic postcards were the pornography of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Small pocket-sized cards with a risque photograph on one side and a postcard design on the other. They were mainly produced in Paris—which led to their appellation French postcards.

Despite their name these postcards were never intended to be sent via the mail. Posting one could have led to a charge of obscenity, a hefty fine and a possible term in gaol. They were collectible erotica—sold through bookshops and photographic studios and certain gentlemen’s establishments. Due to their pornographic nature, the cards were sold surreptitiously—quite literally under the counter and discretely hidden in brown paper bags.

The earliest French postcards date from circa 1870s. These featured clothed or semi-clothed women posing like classic Greek statues. By the 1900s, the images were far more provocative and titillating. The women were usually naked or captured disrobing in their boudoirs—Tom porn—adding a frisson of voyeurism to the mix.

Jean Agélou (1878-1921) was a one of the best known photographers of nude and erotic photography. He was a master of producing the perfect French postcard. He photographed in his studio, using daylight to illuminate the scene. He had his favourite models—including his lover Fernande Barrey 9 (who also posed for Modigliani) and the theatrical star Maud d’Orbay. The photographs were generally made by a creative collaboration between model and photographer.

By today’s standards Agélou’s photographs would not look out of place in a copy of Vanity Fair or the American Apparel catalog. In 1908, France outlawed nude photographs—which made Agélou’s postcards all the more desirable.

Agélou’s erotic postcards were printed and distributed by his brother Georges. Due to the clandestine nature of the work, it is difficult to assess how many erotic photographs Agélou actually produced during his brief lifetime—which makes his work all the more collectible today. Jean and Georges were killed in a car accident in 1921.
 
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Maud d’Orby—a singer, dancer and star of operetta.
 
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More of Jean Agélou’s erotic photography, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.10.2016
01:06 pm
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