Reutlinger’s early style was somewhat distinctively archaic, in that it drew upon the formal conventions of the silhouette portraits by preferring to vignette bust portraits, rather than the full length portraits preferred by Disderi and other contemporaries. Reutlinger became a member of the Salon Francaise de photographie in 1862, and his more beaux arts photographic works were included in their exhibitions throughout the 1860s and 1870s.
The costumed actresses, by far the most popular of the images produced in that era, naturally evolved into more and more erotic imagery, with an emphasis on actresses in the body stockings that were the theatrical facsimiles for nudity. This, in turn, gave way to Reutlinger photographing nudes and beauties in their underclothes, and making them available as a series called “des petites femmes de Paris.” The fact that this was a thriving industry initially particular to Paris during the period is evident by the fact that erotic pictures continued to be referred to as “French postcards” well into the 20th century.
It is not clear how many of these nudes were made by Charles and how many were by his younger brother. So it is very well possible that some of the images shared here are in fact produces by his brother.
Models who poses for Charles Reutlinger were Lina Cavalieri, Cléo de Mérode, Carolina Otto and Maud d’Orby.