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POST MORTEM Photography 1865-75 CDV Sisters Posed Standing 1 Deceased PELLA IOWA
An Excellent Example of 19th Century, (c.1865-1875) Post Mortem Photography - This CDV by Photographer G.A. Vandermeulen of Pella, Iowa, shows two young girls (sisters?), standing & dressed in identical plaid outfits, with the girl on the right being deceased. Her face has a blank, ghost-like appearance, with no expression. Her right eye is open, but fixed and her left eye appears may have been drawn in by the photographer (in the negative) which would have been done if that eye remained closed. There is a large doll stand base, visible on the floor, directly behind the girls. These large stands were typically used as life size doll stands to keep the deceased upright for these types of photos. The base would have a post that was placed up the back of the subject to hold them upright. I can't see the post itself, but the base in the photo would be the kind of apparatus used for a post mortem photo, and the post is most likely hidden behind one of her legs. Also, the live sister is holding on to the upper arm near her shoulder helping to prop up the subject. The CDV is printed on the back with: "G.A. Vandermeulen's Fine Art Gallery Pella - Iowa" Internet research reveals the Gaurt A. Vandermeulen was born in 1845 in the Netherlands and settled in Iowa around 1854. He operated his photography business in Pella, between 1865 and 1875.
The CDV measures: 4 inches by 2.5 inches.
Condition: Excellent Antique Condition - Vivid photo with very little fading - no tears or stains - a few minor marks and some wear or bumps to the corners of the mount -please see scanned images
An Excellent Addition to any Antique Mid-19th Century Post Mortem Photography Collection or Archive.
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On Nov-15-11 at 04:16:43 PST, seller added the following information:
A NOTE: I received an email from an er, stating that I was incorrect and this was not a post-moretm photo. Mentioned was the use of the stand seen in the photo at the bottom of the girls feet. They said that posing stands were used to keep the subject from moving during the taking of the photo, not for proping up a deceased person. The research I found before listing this item, specifically talked about these stands that were used for standing the deceased up. However, I was able to do further research after I received the email and found a cdv photo with one of these posing stands where the subject was not deceased. I am not an expert in these types of photos,however, I still think this is a post-moretm photo, do to the condition of the face of the subject, butsince I also based that opinion on the stand in the photo, I wanted to add this notation concerning the email I received to this listing, and state that it is my opinion the photo is post-mortem. The following is the excerpt where I found the info on post mortem stands:
The following is fromthe internet:
“The first type of Post-Mortem photo's were mostly close-ups on the face or
photo's of the full body but rarely in a coffin, basically making them look
like they are in a deep peaceful sleep.The second type of Post-Mortem Photo's were made to look like the deceased
were still alive, rouge was placed on their cheeks to give them a rosy
complication, their eye's were sometimes left open or eye's were painted on the
photo's. Mostly they would pose their deceased, The children were often posed
to look like they fell asleep on the couch or in the crib with their favorite
toys or The deceased were posed standing up for these types of photo's they
created a life-size porcelain doll stand that had a base and a post going up
the back of the deceased with clamps at the waist and neck with stiff wire's
running to the back to pose the arms. Many were posed with their living family
members most of the time with their mothers. The Third Type of the Post-Mortem Photo's made the deceased less life-like
and were placed in their coffins with flowers around them. Some very famous
people were subjects of the Post-Mortem photos like: president Abraham Lincoln
, The Dalton Gang and Jesse James."
(PS I added this here, as a offer has already been received. Thanks)