Portrait of Sebastian Droste

Portrait of Sebastian Droste

London / ca. 1923 – 1925 / England
Negative image, 10 x  8 approx. 254mm x 203mm
Gelatin on nitrocellulose sheet film
Printed on Enhanced Matte Paper 192 g
Photographer : Francis Joseph Bruguière (1879-1945)

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Francis Joseph Bruguière (15 October 1879 – 8 May 1945) was an American photographer.
Francis Bruguière was born in San Francisco, California.
In 1918, following the decline of the family fortune, he moved to New York City where he made his living by photographing for Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Soon he was appointed the official photographer of the New York Theatre Guild. In this role he photographed the British stage actress Rosalinde Fuller, who was debuting in What’s in a Name? (1920), and she partnered him for the rest of his life.
Throughout his life, Bruguière experimented with multiple-exposure, solarization (years ahead of Man Ray), original processes, abstracts and photograms Until his one-man show at the Art Centre of New York in 1927, he showed this work only to friends. In the mid-1920s, he planned to make a film called The Way, depicting stages in a man’s life, to be played by Sebastian Droste with Rosalinde doing all the female parts. To obtain funding, Bruguière took photographs of projected scenes, but Droste died before filming started; so we are left with only the still pictures.

Sebastian Droste (1892-1927) was a poet, actor and dancer connected with the underworld subcultures of Berlin in the 1920s.
In 1922, Droste married expressionist exotic dancer and actress in German silent movies, Anita Berber. She and Droste performed fantasias with titles such as “Suicide,” “Morphium,” and “Mad House”. Droste appeared as a dancer in the silent movie Algol (1920).