Wrestlers

Greek George and Smith
Anonymous

A small albumen print photographer showing two wrestlers rolling around on the studio floor; a pencilled inscription verso identifies them as ‘Greek George and Smith.’

There appear to have been several wrestlers with this stage name operating on both sides of the Atlantic around the turn of the century.

‘The original “Greek George” (Dr John Theodore Hatzopulos) called at our office yesterday and stated that he is prepared to wrestle any man in the world in the five different styles, viz. Graeco-Roman, catch-as-catch-can, collar and elbow, side haul, and Cornish style, for from £100 up to £500 a-side. A deposit to the SPORTING LIFE will ensure a match. “Greek George,” who is 6ft. 2in. high, and scales in condition 13st 6lb, has defeated […] all the most noted wrestlers in the world’ (Sporting Life, 3 October 1896).

Later that same month the same journal gave a different description, presumably of another wrestler with the same name. ‘As a wrestler Greek George is a formidable looking customer. He stands close on 5ft. 10in., and weights 15st. stripped, and as a performer in the Graeco-Roman styles wants a lot of beating. Unlike some of the acrobats in that fashion, the Greek relies upon his knowledge of the game, allied to his weight and strength, which latter is enormous’ (Sporting Life, 22 October 1896).

This may or may not be the same ‘Greek George’ who enjoyed some success as a wrestler in the United States during the 1880s.

Photographer and location unidentified.

Condition: the print presents a few small, pale grey marks in the area of the background but is otherwise in good condition. It is mounted on a stiff, clean, buff-coloured section of album page.

Dimensions: the print measures 4.9” by 3.3” (12.4 cm by 8.4 cm); the mount measures 5.5” by 3.9” (14 cm by 10 cm).

 


price:  £90
code: cat001
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Fisherman

 

Aristocratic fisherman
Victor Petit of Langres

A pair of cartes-de-visite showing a bearded man holding up a fishing net. In the manner  of Neapolitan fishermen of the period, he is naked except for some undershorts and a Phrygian cap.

Given that the location is about as far from the sea as is possible in France, I suspect that there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Indeed, the sitter has neither the look nor demeanour of someone who earns his living by the sweat of his brow. He is possibly a wealthy, local eccentric who enjoyed dressing up for the camera.

Photographed by V. Petit of Langres (Haute Marne), a hilltop commune in eastern France.

According to Voignier, Victor Petit operated a studio here from 1855 to around 1900, when his son-in-law Tallon took over the business. He specialised in regional landscapes and stereoscopic views, and exhibited at the Société française de photographie (SFP) in 1859. According to the website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), he was born at Langres on 23 April 1824 and he died there on 22 July 1904.

Judging by dates incorporated into the design of his backplate, these portraits date from 1865 or shortly after.

Condition: both prints are in excellent condition, though one has slightly better tonal range than the other; both mounts are clean, firm and solid.

Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard carte-de-visite are 4.1" by 2.5" (10.5 cm by 6.3 cm).


price:  £120
code: cat002
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Academic study

Academic study of a male nude
Anonymous

A warm-toned, matt silver print showing a naked artist’s model wielding an axe in a pseudo-Grecian pose. The photograph dates from the second decade of the twentieth century.

Photographer and location unidentified but almost certainly British.

Condition: the print presents a very faint, diagonal crease at its upper left-hand corner and an even fainter crease at its lower right-hand corner but is otherwise in excellent condition.

Dimensions: including a narrow white border, the print measures 6.4” by 4.6” (16.3 cm by 11.6 cm).


price:  £400
code: cat003
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bodybuilder

British bodybuilder
Anonymous

A cut-down real photo postcard showing a handsome young bodybuilding showing off his milky-white physique.

Photographer and location unidentified but probably British.

Condition: there is a small shallow crease near the upper left-hand corner and a patch of uneven tones near the lower edge but the majority of the image is in good condition, with excellent tonal range.

Dimensions: the photograph measures 4.3” by 3.5” (11 cm by 8.9 cm).


price:  £40
code: cat004
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Tapada

German bodybuilder
Atelier-Spiegel, Braunschweig

A real photo postcard portrait of a German bodybuilding displaying his rather modest achievements.

Photographed by Atelier-Spiegel of Braunschweig in Germany, identified verso by a printed caption along one edge.

Braunschweig [English: Brunswick] is a city in Lower Saxony.

Condition: a very fine print with good tonal range and almost no imperfections.

Dimensions: the postcard measures 5.5” by 3.5” (13.9 cm by 8.8 cm).


price:  £45
code: cat005
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
The heavyweight wrestling champion of the Army and Navy


Dan Hudson and Alf Fountain
Henry Flett of London

Two real photo postcards by the same photographer, one showing Dan Hudson, ‘the heavy-weight champion of the Army and Navy’ and the other showing another man, presumably also a wrestler, identified in the negative as Alf Fountain.

‘The return match between George Dinnie, of Sheffield, and Dan Hudson, A.B., of H.M.S. Implacable, the champion heavy-weight wrestler of the British Army and Navy, took place before a good company at the Theatre Royal, Rotherham, on Saturday afternoon. The conditions were best of three falls catch-as-catch-can style, the double Nelson, hammerlock, and strangle being barred. Both contestants had been specially trained, and the match aroused much interest’ (Sheffield Independent, 13 September 1909).

‘There was a fair attendance at the Kent National Sporting Club, St George’s hall, Herne Bay, on Saturday night. Service men provided some rattling sport in the various boxing contests but the surprise of the evening was when Seaman Dan Hudson, heavy-weight catch-as-catch-can wrestling champion of the Navy, was beaten by Seaman Fred Riches by two falls to none, Riches thus winning the Championship Cup given by the president of the club, Prof. Joe Smith’ (Sporting Life, 7 February 1912).

Photographed by H. Flett of 119 Cheapside, London.

Born at St Leonards in Sussex, Henry Flett (1872-1948) operated two studios in London. His Cheapside studio existed from 1897 to 1940; he briefly also operated another studio at 103 Newgate Street (1903-1909).


price:  £35
code: cat006
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bert Harrington

Bert Harrington
Anonymous

A small glossy, silver gelatin photograph showing a performer in sequinned shorts; a pencilled inscription verso in a period hand identifies him as Bert Harrington.

This is possibly the same Bert Harrington who was on the bill at the Hippodrome in Glasgow in the first decade of the 20th century (The Era, 4 August 1906). A little over a year later he was appearing at the Empire in Leicester (The Era, 4 January 1908) and then at the Hackney Empire (The Stage, 23 January 1908).

Photographer and location unidentified, but almost certainly British.

Condition: the unmounted photograph presents a small crease at its lower right-hand corner but is otherwise in fine condition with good tonal range. There is a strip of white, modern archival tape verso along its upper edge.

Dimensions: the print measures 5” by 3.3” (12.8 cm by 8.5 cm).


price:  £50
code: cat007
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Hermanno der Eisenkönig

Hermanno der Eisenkönig
Anonymous

A real photo postcard portrait of a German strongman identified in the negative as ‘Hermanno der Eisenkönig’ [English: ‘Hermanno the Iron King’]. The sitter appears to have been photographed naked but the photographer has subsequently added an over-sized fig leaf, presumably in order to make the image appeal to a wider market. The addition doesn’t quite hide a large scar on the inside of the man’s right thigh.

This is probably a German-speaking bodybuilder who borrowed his soubriquet from the famous German-Jewish circus performer and vaudeville strongman Siegmund ‘Zishe’ Breitbart, who was known as ‘the Strongest Man in the World’ during the 1920s. Breitbart died of blood poisoning in 1925, eight weeks after had had accidently driven a spike into his knee during a performance in Germany.

Photographer and location unidentified.

Condition: the postcard presents a few small imperfections, most noticeably a small white mark at its upper edge and a diagonal crease at its lower right-hand corner. An inked inscription verso in a period hand reading ‘An dem Eisenkönig’ [English: ‘From the Iron King’] is probably the sitter’s autograph.

Dimensions: including its white borders the postcard measures 5.5” by 3.5” (14.1 cm by 8.8 cm).

 


price:  £25
code: cat008
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
German athlete

German athlete
Esser and Koenen of Cologne

A cabinet card from the 1920s showing a handsome young German athlete wearing a sports vest, his arms folded across his chest the better to show off his toned biceps.

Photographed by Esser and Koenen of Cologne, identified recto in the lower margin and by their backplate verso.

Condition: the print is faintly discoloured in a few places but is otherwise in very good condition; the mount is in excellent condition.

Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard cabinet card are 6.5” x 4.25” (16.5 cm x 10.75 cm).

 

 


price:  SOLD
code: cat009
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Pornographic postcard

 

Lovers
Anonymous

A pornographic real photo postcard showing two male lovers wearing socks and shoes and nothing else. Their socks are held up by sock suspenders.

Photographer and location unidentified, as one would expect with material of this nature.

Condition: the print presents a few small marks and imperfections but the postcard is otherwise in reasonably good condition.

Dimensions: the postcard measures 3.5” by 5.5” (8.9 cm by 13.9 cm).

 


price:  £80
code: cat010
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
German swimmers

 

Swimmers
F. Herfter, Germany

A real photo postcard showing a large group of scantily clad men standing waist-high in a swimming pool. The signage on the fence in the background is in German – one of the signs refers to ‘Kopfsprung’ [English: ‘diving’] – so the location is presumably somewhere in Germany

Photographed by F. Herfter, identified by a wetstamp verso.

Condition: there are a few small marks in the area of the sky at the upper left-hand corner of the image and the postcard presents a small amount of wear at its corners; it is otherwise in good condition.

Dimensions: the postcard measures 3.45” by 5.4” (8.8 cm by 13.7 cm).

 


price:  £20
code: cat011
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Nazi propoganda

Farm boys at the Reichsschule, Austria
Hans Spudich

A Nazi propaganda photograph showing athletic, Aryan youths training at an institution in Burg Neuhaus, Austria.

According a printed caption verso in German, these are farm boys [German: Bauernjungen] training at the Reichsschule established by Richard Walther Darré at Burg Neuhaus in Austria in order to develop a generation of powerful young Germans ‘with a healthy body and a spirit trained in responsibility in discipline and custom.’

Richard Walther Darré was a high-ranking functionary in the SS and one of the leading Nazi ‘blood and soil’ [Blut under Boden] ideologists. This was an expression of Nazi Germany’s ideal of a racially pure national body (‘blood’) united with a settlement area (‘soil’). It idealized not only outdoor, rural life on the farm in opposition to an indoor, urban existence but also a German-Nordic peasantry centred on agriculture in opposition to an anti-Semitic trope of Jewish nomadism.

Photographed by Hans Spudich.

Published by F. Bruckmann of Munich.

After the death of the publisher Friedrich Bruckmann in 1898, his sons Hugo and Alphons took over the firm that their father had establish earlier in the century. From 1928 onwards the Bruckmanns were avid promoters of the National Socialist Society for German Culture. Hugo Bruckmann and his wife Elsa were early and influential supporters of Adolf Hitler; they helped him gain access to, and acceptance within, upper-class circles in Munich.

Further reading: Images des Sports in Österreich: Innensichten und Außenwahrnehmungen, ed. Marschik, Meisinger, et al., 2018.

Condition: excellent, apart from two very slightly bumped corners.

Dimensions: the photograph, which is in the format of an oversized postcard, measures 5.8” by 4.1” (14.7 cm by 10.4 cm).


price:  £100
code: cat012
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Male physique

Model with bow and arrow
Anonymous

A glossy silver gelatin bromide print showing a kneeling model posing with a bow and arrow. The photograph is very much in the style of the New York photographer Edwin F. Townsend, whose output included much work in the male physique genre. His model of choice was the actor Tony Sansone, who looked very much like the man seen here.

Photographer and location unidentified.

Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including its narrow white border, the print measures 6.8” by 4.4” (17.1 cm by 11.3 cm).

 


price:  £600
code: cat013
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Male physique

Naked model with bow and arrow
Anonymous

A glossy silver gelatin bromide print showing a naked model posing with a bow and arrow. The photograph is very much in the style of the New York photographer Edwin F. Townsend, whose output included much work in the male physique genre. His model of choice was the actor Tony Sansone, who looked very much like the man seen here.

Photographer and location unidentified.

Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including its narrow white border, the print measures 6.3” by 4.8” (16.1 cm by 12.3 cm).


price:  £550
code: cat014
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Male physique

 

Art Déco nude
Anonymous

A glossy silver gelatin bromide print showing a naked man with oiled skin seated in a typical stylised pose of the Art Déco period. The photograph is very much in the style of the New York photographer Edwin F. Townsend, whose output included much work in the male physique genre. His model of choice was the actor Tony Sansone, who looked very much like the man seen here.

Photographer and location unidentified

Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections, mostly in the area of the background, but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including its narrow white borders, the print measures 4.8” by 6.7” (12.2 cm by 17 cm).


price:  £650
code: cat015
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bodybuilder

Muscled back I
Atelier Hohenzollern, Kiel

A cabinet card portrait of a young man showing off his muscled back.

Photographed by Atelier Hohenzollern of Kiel, the capital of the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Condition: the print presents several small marks and imperfections, mostly in the area of the background, but with a couple of small white voids in the area of the sitter’s hair; the mount is firm and solid but presents some foxing recto and verso.

Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard cabinet card are 6.5” x 4.25” (16.5 cm x 10.75 cm).


price:  £125
code: cat016
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bodybuilder

 

Muscled back II
Anonymous

A real photo postcard portrait of a young man flexing his extremely well-developed deltoids and biceps. A pencilled inscription verso in a period hand reads: ‘Avril 1917’ [English: ‘April 1917’].

Photographer and location unidentified.

Dimensions: the postcard measures 3.5” by 5.3” (8.8 cm by 13.4 cm).

Condition: the print presents some silver mirroring, some thumbnail creases and some corner wear; in addition, there is some mottled foxing verso.


price:  £75
code: cat017
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bodybuilder

 

Muscled back III
Anonymous

A real photo postcard portrait of young man with ripped traps and triceps. The postcard is mounted on a cut-down section of album page with an inked inscription below the photograph. This reads ‘Zur freundlichen Erinnerung / an deinen Freund / [signature illegible] / Wien, Mai 1940’ [English: ‘In friendly remembrance / of your friend / [signature illegible] / Vienna, May 1940’].

Photographer unidentified.

Condition: there are a few small white voids in the area of the sitter’s neck and the postcard also presents some edge and corner wear, presumably sustained prior to mounting. The album page presents some yellowing at two of its edges but is otherwise in reasonably good condition. The reverse presents the lower half of another photograph (a man in a suit) and another inked dedication in German.

Dimensions: the postcard measures 3.4” by 5.4” (8.8 cm by 13.8 cm); the cut-down section of album page on which it is mounted measures 7.1” by 8.4” (18 cm by 21.2 cm).


price:  £150
code: cat018
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
British bodybuilder

British bodybuilder
Herbert Shergold of Bristol

A glossy silver gelatin print portrait of a bodybuilder with a heavily oiled body.

Photographed by Herbert Shergold of Bristol.

Now almost completely forgotten, Herbert Shergold was a local photographer who specialised in slightly cheesy portraits of minor and would-be actors

Condition: the print has sustained some shallow creases near its left-hand edge and in a raking light presents a number of small indentations. The reverse of the print presents evidence of the photograph having once been pasted to a secondary support.

Dimensions: the print measures 5.4” by 3.45” (13.7 cm by 8.8 cm).


price:  £50
code: cat019
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Mustapha Scali

Mustapha Scali
Studio Arax, Paris

A slightly gloss gelatin silver print portrait of muscle builder Mustapha Scali, the winner of Mr France, Physique in 1954. The following year he came 4th in the Mr Europe competition.

Photographed by Studio Arax, France.

Condition: the print presents a few small dark flecks in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. A pencilled inscription verso identifies the sitter.

Dimensions: including a narrow white border, the print measures 5.4” by 3.4” (13.6 cm by 8.6 cm).


price:  £150
code: cat020
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Bodybuilder

Bodybuilder
Studio Arax, Paris

A glossy silver gelatin physique photograph of a handsome young man with well-developed lats, flashing white teeth and a disconcerting absence of male private parts.

Photographed by Studio Arax of Paris.

According to Kenneth Krauss (Male Beauty: Postwar Masculinity in Theater, Film, and Physique Magazines, 2014): ‘Gregor Arax, whose studio in Paris had been producing high-quality male nudes since the 1930s, was a Greek who kept his studio at 31 Boulevard Raspail for more than three decades. [He was] primarily known for his meticulous studio pictures.’

Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including a narrow white border, the print measures 9.25” by 6.9” (23.5 cm by 17.6 cm).

 


price:  £300
code: cat027
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Male nude

Male nude
Studio Arax, Paris

A glossy silver gelatin physique photograph of a slim-hipped, smooth-skinned young man.

Photographed by Studio Arax of Paris.

According to Jeffrey Merrick and Michael Sibalis (Homosexuality in French History and Culture, 2013): ‘There was, however, a highly-developed system for selling photographs by mail order. Several French photographic studios were active in the field. The best known belonged to Jean Ferrero (in Nice) and Gregor Arax (in Paris), but for the most part they distributed their production abroad.’

Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including a narrow white border, the print measures 9.3” by 6.9” (23.6 cm by 17.6 cm).


price:  £250
code: cat028
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Roger Novaro

 

Roger Novaro
Studio Arax, Paris

A glossy silver gelatin bromide physique photograph showing a named bodybuilder of the 1950s.

A pencilled inscription verso reads: ‘Roger Novaro, 5eme plus bel athlète de Belgique, 1951’ [English: ‘Roger Novaro, Belgium’s 5th handsomest athlete, 1951’].

Another inscription in red ink adds ‘Gand’ [English: ‘Ghent’] after his name, and above his name ‘Plus bel athlète de Flandre’ [English: ‘Flanders’s most beautiful athlete’].

According to the website MuscleMemory, Roger Novaro entered various competitions between 1947 and 1955. In 1952 he was crowned Mr Belgium in the Tall category; the following year he came 2nd in the same category and in 1955 he was 3rd. The website also validates the inscription verso; he did indeed place 5th in 1951.

Photographed by Studio Arax, Paris.

Condition: apart from a few small marks in the area of the background, the print is in excellent condition with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: including a narrow white border, the print measures 5” by 6.9” (12.6 cm by 17.6 cm).


price:  £200
code: cat023
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs
Boy with Cupid's wings

Dream Boy
[Signed]

A matt silver print portrait of a golden-haired boy with a dead bird strung over his shoulder in such a way that at first glance the boy appears to be a winged Cupid.

The putto has a long tradition in Western art. Although it dates back to the ancient classical world, by the Middle Ages it had all but disappeared. However, it enjoyed a revival in Renaissance art and again in the Baroque period. At various times the figure has been associated with romantic love, erotic love, angels, Heaven and the adoration of God and the Virgin Mary. It has also been associated with music as well as more abstract qualities such as peace, prosperity, mirth and leisure.

The photographer has titled and signed the print in the lower margin but his signature is hard to decipher. His first name, I think, is Tom; his surname is possibly Land…. with the end of the name illegible.

Condition: an exhibition quality print on double weight paper, the photograph presents a few small imperfections, most noticeably a faint mark on the boy’s foremost thigh. It is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: the print measures 9.2” by 7” (23.5 cm by 18 cm); the mount measures 11.5” by 9.1” (23.4 cm by 29.2 cm).


price:  £750
code: cat024
Paul Frecker - Fine Photographs