2 Antique postcards 1900s. Valentine Merelli September 1906. Paris Deimondaine. Reutlinger Paris

21,00 VAT included

2 Antique ballet postcards
💠 Valentine Merelli 💠
Good antique condition 1906

La Belle Époque artist . 1900s
Valentine Merelli (demimondaine)
Reutlinger Paris

1 in stock


La Belle Époque artist
2 1900s French postcards
Valentine Merelli

Reutlinger Paris

Condition: Used before. They are in good antique condition but some spots and a monnogramme (see pictures).
Date: September 1906
Dimensions: about 9 cm x 14 cm (common measure for antique cards)
Technique: b/w photo print, hand-colored

This list is for 2 ORIGINAL 1900s postcards, not a scan or facsimile.


Valentine Merelli

Valentine Merelli is the artistic name of Valentine Marie Darbour (Sedan 1876-19XX). She rose to fame in fin-de-siècle Paris as an actress in theaters and music halls, as well as being a well-known French demimondaine.

From 10 to 17, Valentine Darbour (later Merelli) received intellectual training in a nunnery, and in 1898 she arrived in Paris with her husband, the art printer Camille Sohet, whom she had married at 19 years.

Merelli was the sister of the celebrated Art Nouveau artist Gaston Darbour, who worked as an illustrator, engraver, designer, and also a painter trained in England, Austria, and Germany as well as at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His prints and illustrations were published in numerous La Belle Époque magazines, such as L’Estampe moderne, Revue de l’art ancien et moderne, Revue septentrionale, L’Image or L’Humanité nouvelle, among others. His works are preserved in:

When younger, Merelli worked as a teacher for a family, and from 1899 she wrote for the newspaper La Fronde under the pseudonyms Palo and Pamela. She was interested in the stage world, and received lessons from Madeleine Guitty and began acting under the names of:

  1. Adrée Floria
  2. Andrée Floridor / Florador
  3. Dorr
  4. Floria Doire
  5. Merelli

She performed in numerous theaters and alongside renowned actresses and actors, such as the Grand-Guignol, the Athénée, the Mathurins, the Théâtre de la Tour-Eiffel, La Robinière and the Automobile-Club de Paris.

Main roles starring Valentine Merelli

  • 1900: At Saint-Lazare, by Régine Martial in collaboration with Camille Clermont, at the Grand-Guignol, June 9, a prison.
  • 1900: Les Demi-virges, by Marcel Prévost, at the Athénée, September 29.
  • 1901: Le Rêve de Mme X, an operetta by Georges Montignac, Louis de Lagarde and Frédéric Toulmouche, in La Robinière, at the Eiffel Tower Theater.
  • 1901: Machin d’bois, Lagarde’s musical fantasy, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, November 20.
  • 1903: La Revue à l’Humbert, by Georges Floréal, at La Robinière.
  • 1901: On n’est pas de bois, fantasy in one act by Lagarde, in Mathurin, December 11.


At the beginning of 1902, she and her husband were separated. From then on, Valentine Merelli was involved with a doctor, later with a wealthy Chilean (with whom she visits Brazil for the first time), and finally to Jean Gallay, (alias Baron de Guerche and Baron Gravald), who pays for her an apartment at 10 Rue Gustave-Flaubert. At this time she appears regularly mentioned in the pink press of the time, such as the Gil Blas paper, which meticulously will follow the process of her arrest, incarceration, and trial.

The Process Gallay-Merelli

Jean Gallay began siphoning off small amounts of funds that he handled daily at the bank where he was employed. Once he made sure that his fraudulent management worked, he moved his wife and children out of Paris and began to lead a double life. Every day he went to work at the bank and at night he put on glasses and dressed ostentatiously to become a baron. Among the luxuries he enjoyed was the company of demimondaines as Merelli, for which he increased the rate of embezzlement from him. Given the impossibility of continuing the farse, Merelli accompanied Gallay in his flight.

They initially headed to Le Havre, from where they chartered the steam yacht Catalina. The yellow press of the time gave an account of the luxury with which they planned their trip. Merelli’s trunk included 37 evening gowns and 50 pairs of shoes. The cellars were stocked with liters of champagne and a crew including a doctor was hired. But at the end of the summer of 1905, Valentine Merelli was the protagonist of multiple press covers, along with Jean Gallay. The Brazilian police searched her yacht Catalina as part of an investigation for the embezzlement of 2 million francs, launched by the Bank Comptori d’Escompte, during their journey.

The arrest occurred in Bahia on August 24 and both of them were extradited to France along with her maid. Merelli was accused of complicity in at least two forgeries and imprisoned in the Saint-Lazare prison in Paris. The trial was held in the courts of the Seine, and she was acquitted in February 1906. Gallay was sentenced to 7 years in prison in French Guinea (Central America).

That same year Merelli wrote her own autobiographical novel, entitled Merelia, and began working for Madame Carlet at La Gaité-Rochechouart. The life of Valentine Merelli was also the inspiration for Fabrice Delphi’s novel Ciel de Coulisse, which was published in 1907 in fascicles in Le Supplément. Merelli won a lawsuit against the author.

Circus star

From 1907 she became a circus artist under Georges Marck, with a number in Le Boudoir des Fauves show held at the Folies-Bergère, which included her entry into the cage of lions. Her later main roles included:

  • 1906: Goodbye and thank you!!! , Review of Henry de Gorsse and Georges Nanteuil , in Gaité-Rochechouart , March 26
  • 1906: Le Premier mari de France, by Albin Valabrègue, in Brussels, at the Antwerp Varieties Theatre, then at the Kursaal in Lille, Role of Clémentine
  • 1907: Le Juif errant, by Eugène Sue, at the Municipal Theater of Arcachon. as author
  • 1909: The logic of the heart! at the Little-Palace with Jane Lory; then at the Montparnasse theater.

Marriage with Perrissoud

From September 1914 she would retire from show business, marrying the radical-socialist deputy Raphaël Perrissoud in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Perrissoud was a doctor of law and had participated in fencing at the 1900 Summer Olympics. He remarried a year before his death in 1956, so Merelli may have died by then, or the couple was divorced.


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2 Antique postcards 1900s. Valentine Merelli September 1906. Paris Deimondaine. Reutlinger Paris
21,00 VAT included