The Female Figure

New York: Arthur Allen Studios, 1915-1925. Photo album portfolio sold to subscribers by Allen from his Arthur Allen Studios circa 1915-1925, containing more than 40 pages of original nude photographic prints pasted onto stiff pages. Each photo is discreetly rubber stamped (1 to 40) at the bottom right corner.

Each leaf has between two and four different images, with many leaves showing four separate poses of the same model. The final three pages of the portfolio were issued blank, but include 22 additional contemporary photographic and card stock images tipped in, likely their intended use by the publisher.

The first page includes a tipped in title page and a bound in brochure announcing this particular series (along with a pencil note, "Received 19 Ap 1923") and predicting: "We are entering a period of nudity."

Allen (1886-1962) was a pioneer in nude photography who was unique in that his models displayed certain regions of the female form not documented by other photographers of the time. Allen claimed this was not for salacious reasons, but rather his earnest attempt to display the entirety of nude figure for artistic and "democratic" ideals. He explained in his biography, "To see womankind entirely nude would place all women on equality. And it would be only their true mental and physical charm that would lift them from the ordinary." Allen was arrested and indicted on several occasions during the 1920s for distributing obscene material but continued undaunted. He further pushed the boundaries with a portfolio of women from other races and a film of nude woman performing choreographed routines and military drills. Eventually he became a photographer for the Elysium Foundation, a nudist society, before fading into obscurity. An interesting and arresting (how could we resist) collection of images from the early part of the twentieth century by an unsung pioneer in nude photography.

Quarto. 40 pages, string bound textured paper wrappers. Very Good overall. Moderate wear to the extremities with some waviness to the pages and some photos lifting at the corners but all still firmly secured.


[Book #134767]

Price: $4,500.00