The Amar brothers

The Amar brothers



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  • Tamer Ali Amar in Bordeaux.

  • Tamer Cheriff Amar in Bordeaux.

  • Tamer Mustapha Amar, in Bordeaux, remains of the lion Sultan.

  • The elder Tamer Amar.

To close

Title: Tamer Ali Amar in Bordeaux.

Author :

Creation date : 1923

Date shown: 1923

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Production : Panajou, Brothers Rémy and Fernand Actif 1890 to 1931.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

Picture reference: 09-537245 / Sou.11.85.2

Tamer Ali Amar in Bordeaux.

© MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

To close

Title: Tamer Cheriff Amar in Bordeaux.

Author :

Creation date : 1923

Date shown: 1923

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Production : Panajou, Brothers Rémy and Fernand Actif 1890 to 1931.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

Picture reference: 09-537246 / Sou.11.86.2

Tamer Cheriff Amar in Bordeaux.

© MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

To close

Title: Tamer Mustapha Amar, in Bordeaux, remains of the lion Sultan.

Author :

Creation date : 1923

Date shown: 1923

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Production : Panajou, Brothers Rémy and Fernand Actif 1890 to 1931.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

Picture reference: 09-537244 / Sou.11.82.1

Tamer Mustapha Amar, in Bordeaux, remains of the lion Sultan.

© MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

To close

Title: The elder Tamer Amar.

Author :

Creation date : 1926

Date shown: 1926

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved website

Picture reference: 09-537243 / Sou.11.81.1

© MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

Publication date: November 2010

Historical context

The Amar circus in the 1920s: a model of choice

Originally from Kabylia, Ahmed Ben Amar el-Gaid (1860-1913) is one of the outstanding figures of the European circus. Married to an "original" Frenchwoman, he became the father of six sons, whom he quite quickly involved in his shows as "the youngest tamers in the world". The Amar menagerie was born, which distinguished itself in various fairs in the first decade of the twentieth century. It is precisely from this period of burgeoning glory for the family business that the pictures studied here date.
Taken in March 1923 for a performance in Bordeaux and in 1926, the photographs were brought together by Gustave Soury (1880-1966), animal painter and poster artist with a passion for the circus. In full swing in the 1920s, the fairground world became an iconographic theme in its own right and quite in vogue, where various aesthetic approaches, exotic fantasies and a kind of fascination for this “brotherhood” of life style and culture mingle. branded identity as well as for its increasingly famous "heroes". A theme that is increasingly appropriated exclusively by photography, which is gradually taking over from the experiences that a certain painting at the end of the 19th century had devoted to the subject. Young, modern and essential figures of this unique universe, the Amar brothers are thus a model of choice.

Image Analysis

The menagerie of the Amar brothers

Continuing the family tradition, each of the four brothers pictured here performs acts for the “Amar menagerie” and has his specialty: elephants for Ahmed, lions for Mustapha, bears for Ali and wild animals for Cheriff.
Tamer Cheriff Amar, Tamer Mustapha Amar, remains of the lion Sultan and Tamer Ali Amar belong to a series produced during the stay of the Amar circus in Bordeaux in 1923. As indicated by the inscription at the bottom of the images, these three photographs were taken in the famous studio that the Panajou brothers had held there since 1865. Each of the sons Amar posed standing in front of the same backdrop (paneling and tapestry), probably on the same day in March 1923.
Tamer Ali Amar shows Ali with his hands in his pockets, eyes wide, and resolute expression. With his light-colored suit, shirt, tie, waistcoat and pocket in white color, he would almost pass for a dandy and could appear dressed “in civilian”, were the pants only a series of buttons tightened from the top. knee in order to adapt to tamer boots (which the framing of the shot makes invisible here).

Tamer Cheriff Amar shows the young man in "work" clothes, whip in his right hand. With its black facings and embroidered sleeves, his jacket is typical of the beast trainers of the time. He adorned it with a fang held in place by a chain. With his eyes fixed on the photographer's camera, he seems moved and looks a bit borrowed.
The composition of Tamer Mustapha Amar, remains of the lion Sultan is different: Mustapha is represented full-length and poses a little three quarters in a staging worthy of this great lion tamer, one of the most famous in Europe. Dressed in an elegant suit, he holds his whip in one hand and smokes with the other, gazing into the distance. Standing on the remains of Sultan, he leans firmly with his left foot on the head of the wild animal with its mouth wide open.
Taken in 1926, the cliché Senior Tamer Amar depicts Ahmed full-face and full-face, in an oriental-inspired costume. To the jacket and belt, richly adorned with faux stones, is added a turban adorned with a white plume and four gold buckles, which literally disguise the model. This very exotic outfit refers to his specialty, African elephants.

Interpretation

The Amar family, between tradition and modernity

The Huline, the Franconi, the Rancy, the Houcke, the Medrano or even the Gruss: in France as in Europe, the circus is often an adventure that concerns dynasties, a company and a tradition that are passed down from father to son and one profession which is practiced between brothers. The Amar are no exception to the rule, and the faces presented by these four pictures have a certain family resemblance.

These families often come from abroad. To the English, through whom the circus arrived in France in the second half of the 19th century and who remained very active there in the 1920s, were added Italians, Belgians and Belgians of Italian origin. From a white mother and a Kabyle father, the Amar brothers are French from Algeria. With these beautiful-faced "half-breeds", it is with a touch of Maghrebian exoticism that the fairground universe is enriched.

An exoticism that Senior Tamer Amar cultivates moreover without nuance, simultaneously exploiting that, general, of the circus, where the elephant trainer often wears a very baroque costume, and that, particular, linked to his Maghrebian origins. More measured, the photographer of Tamer Cheriff Amar, Tamer Mustapha Amar, remains of the lion Sultan and Tamer Ali Amar has skilfully blended the exotic, tradition and modernity attached to the menagerie of the Amar brothers. Indeed, the latter are at the same time the heirs of a fairground tradition initiated by their father, sons of the colonies, rational and wise artists and businessmen, who then develop their business with some success.

Tamer Ali Amar thus presents a young man of the North African type very elegantly dressed in the West, a sort of modern dandy whose specific profession hardly appears. Conversely, Tamer Cheriff Amar insists more on the profession of trainer, with all its codes. This difference in approach is found in Tamer Mustapha Amar, remains of the lion Sultan, a photograph which, if it refers to the training of ferocious and dangerous beasts, also presents Mustapha as someone who succeeded (he was already the most famous of the brothers in 1923) and who leads the "normal" and fulfilled life of a handsome.

  • Amar brothers
  • circus

Bibliography

Pascal JACOB, The Great Circus Parade, Paris, Gallimard, 2001.Dominique JANDO, World circus history, Paris, University Editions Jean-Pierre Delarge, 1977 François MIRALLES, History of circuses in T.A.M., n ° 220, 1946.North Africa illustrated, n ° 488, September 1930.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "The Amar brothers"


Video: Quién Te Puede Amar