Charles Reutlinger (1816 – 1888) was founder of the highly successful eponymous Paris photographic establishment, in business from 1850 to 1937, which was known for its portraits, theatrical cartes de visite and cabinet cards, as well as erotica and, later, fashion and proto-surrealist photographs.
By the time Reutlinger was 18, he was already known to be practicing the art of silhouette portraiture, which his aunt, Madame la Conseiller Weiss, had been doing professionally since around 1820 in Karslrhue. He moved to Stuttgart around 1835, where he met Georg Friedrich Brandseph, an established silhouette artist, who was among the early adapters to the burgeoning field of daguerreotype portraiture. He established his own photographic studio in Stuttgart at 8 Furtbachstrasse by 1849.
Reutlinger certainly arrived in Paris with some amount of portrait photography business and technical acumen already, since, by 1851, his photographic advertisement was running in the publication La Lumiиre, offering, as well, to instruct others in the art of “daguerreotype on paper.”
From the early 1850s, Reutlinger was a prolific producer of carte de visite portraits of the notable figures in cosmopolitan Paris, including politicians and royalty, musical celebrities, and theatrical stars. His atelier was decorated elaborately, with the furnishings and decor serving as settings and props in the portraits. See also the posts Lina Cavalieri and Maud d’Orby, two models who posed for Reutlinger.