Camera Notes, April 1897
Sadakichi Hartman

Breese produced one plate that deserves unstinted recognition-the portrait if Yvette Guilbert, Called "Le Desir," which shows that he only meant it to be a study. Although this picture contains enough of a certain phase of Yvette Guilbert’s art, a certain wanton forgetfulness, characteristic of this "Lady of Vain Virtue," as Rossetti might call her, it is not , and could not be a portrait. We Americans have never known the real Yvette Guilbert --the " female faun"-- and all on account of her wearing a wig here, while in Paris she appeared with her own cartory red hair. In New York she was a naughty pre-Raphaelite maiden while at the "Concert Parisian" she represented Ugliness singing the misery and frivolity of modern society. Nor was I aware that the lilies of the valley expressed desire: lilacs would have been more appropriate. Or did the Carbon Studio wish to convey that nervous Yvette Guilbert fell into a trance by inhaling the pure innocent odor of lilies if the valley-- a combination of refinement and naivete, as we see in Chevannes’ mural decoration? I hardly think so.

About Alfred Stieglitz as a portrait photographer I am not equally certain. We all know that a student of photography could not have ( in certain references to technical usages ) a better master than he. He is a fanatic of simplicity, but has done too few portraits, and these not individual enough to make a estimate . In his exact and cold like science, which may be a merit as it happens to represent a professor-he has succeeded very admirably indeed. The monstrous line of the left arm and the veins of the right hand however disturb my enjoyment.
James L. Breese
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert