Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tony Sansone; 1905 - 1987

I was searching for some vintage photos recently when I found the gorgeous photo below, a magazine cover called Body Beautiful from the late 1920s or early 1930s by the look of it.

The photo title included the word "Sansone", and I was intriqued to find out whether that was the publisher or the model. It turns out it refers to Tony Sansone, an early body builder and dancer, and the model on the cover. Sansone was apparently very famous and in demand in the 1930s, at a time when physical culture, classicism and some elements of homo eroticism all combined in the early days of the physique cult.

Sansone self published a number of physique pictorials and artistic nude magazines, such as "Modern Classics" (above) from 1932. All beautifully shot and quite highbrow, although it's hard not to imagine that some of the buyers were less interested in Greek classical form and more interested in other 'Greek' pursuits. These pamphlets, and other works of the time starring Sansone, seem to have often featured full frontal nudes. (And let me tell you, nice.)

It looks like Sansone stopped modelling at the end of the 1930s to concentrate on selling his body building system by mail order, and running his own gym. There are some interesting links on this fan site including some promo material where Sansone talks about sculpting the body without over-developing for the sake of size. The lean sculpted look that was his trademark.

And for that Tony, the world (or at least I) thank you.


There's a comprehensive fan site, and interesting Wikipedia entry, some more pics and some 1920s nudes by Edwin F Townsend.


thombeau said...

Wonderful post, my vintage friend!

mrpeenee said...

how charming, what a beauty.

bernard said...

that gotta be a better post than anything that could come from 2 days of indoctrination!

nash said...

Oh TOA you've done it again - always whetting my appetite with lovely old nudie pics!

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks boys!

Anthony Supino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony Supino said...

Abt 1981-82 my friends and I were on Coney island boardwalk and struck up a conversation with an older man in phenomenal shape who introduced himself as Tony Sansone, at the time I think he lived in Bath Beach, he was a real nice unfortunately at the time we had no idea who he was nevertheless I'm glad I got to meet him even though it was just for a few minutes of small talk, I do remember him talking about Coney Island back in its Hay Day and then mentioning about him owning a gym