The registered envelope has a single copy of both the blue 2d and green ½d QV stamps of New South Wales which are postmarked with the duplex WILLIAM STREET/ MR 22/ 12-30 P.M./ 99/ N.S. W with the barred numeral ‘697′. In addition there are 2 copies of a large’R’ handstamp and a blue crayon ‘556′, as well as a double ringed red PARIS/ 28 AVRIL/ 99 reception postmark. It was addressed to Monsieur Gustave Neymark, artiste-peintre, 12 rue Blanche, Paris, France (Figure 1).
The reverse had the usual red printed REGISTERED NEW SOUTH WALES / THREE PENCE stamp, as well as the originating duplex William Street ‘697′ cancel identical to the front, 2 copies of the REGISTERED/ B/ MR 22/ 99/ SYDNEY, N.S.W and a double ringed black 2 PARIS 2/ 1N 29/ AVRIL/ 99 reception postmark (Figure 2).
On 17 August 1896 Carl Hertz first presented a public preview in Melbourne of “The Cinematographe” in reality the English-made R.W. Paul Theatrograph in Table Talk 21 August 1896. On 26 September James McMahon opened in Brisbane with a projecting system advertised as the “Cinematographe” in The Courier Mail 24 September 1896, p. 2. In Adelaide on 19 October 1896 Frank St Hill and Mr Moodie opened “The Cinematographe”, in reality an Edison projecting kinetoscope, at the Theatre Royal and Beehive Buildings as per the Express and Telegraph 19 October 1896, front page. At the Melbourne Athenaeum Edison’s Vitascope opens on 31 October 1896 according to The Age, 24 October 1896 (p. 8). Also in Melbourne was “The Perfected Cinematographe” developed by Henri Joly and presented by French artist Gustave Neymark and French-born émigré photographer Albert Perier which opened on Collins Street on 26 October 1896 as per The Age October 24 1896, p. 8.
On 22 August 1896, page 342 of The Queenslander (Brisbane) the following departure from Brisbane was found: August 14 – BARRABOOL, s. 942 tons, Captain W. Hammer, for Sydney. The listed passengers included a G. Neymark (Figure 3).
An educated guess is that G. Neymark was the French painter Gustave Neymark who had finished his presentation in Brisbane and was on his way to a presentation in Sydney.
Gustave Mardoche Neymark was an obscure French painter, and only his year of birth of 1850 is known, with no other biographical information being found. His paintings are seen at several auction sites and the first one I have seen is a black copy of a young woman described as “Gathering Flowers in a Summer Garden”, on canvas, dated 1896 (Figure 4).
His more usual subjects were paintings of horses and men, as seen in a black copy of “Mares and Foals in a Pasture” and ” Jockey sur sa Monture” (Figures 5 & 6).
A photo of a portrait of Gustave Neymark, French friend of Perier who brought the first motion pictures to Australia, has additional information as follows: French artist sent with Perier to report on art in Australia. Brought first motion pictures documentaries to Australia from Paris (ca. 36, each 50 feet long). Financed by Collins, Baker and Rouse, they were shown commercially in Melbourne.
A portrait of Neymark is seen in Figure 7.