GIDE, André.

Lot 1451
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GIDE, André.
Voyage au Congo followed by Retour du Tchad and illustrated with sixty-four unpublished photographs by Marc Allégret. Paris, Gallimard, 1928.
Large in-4 of 304 pp, (2) ff, 64 photographs, 4 maps : paperback, anthracite half-maroquin case with corners, folder.
We join :
ALLÉGRET, Marc. Collection of 204 original photographs taken during the trip with André Gide.
3 albums in-folio of 218 photographs mounted on tabs, including 204 vintage prints and 14 modern prints: anthracite half-maroquin with corners, folders.
Deluxe edition, the first illustrated: it is decorated with 64 remarkable out-of-text photographs by Marc Allégret.
The illustration includes, in addition, four maps. The two travel reports were first published by Gallimard in 1927 and 1928.
Copy printed on Japan paper, not justified.
Charged with a reporting mission by the Minister of Colonies, which earned him facilities and credits, André Gide travelled through Central Africa, from the Congo to Chad, from July 1926 to May 1927. He was accompanied by his lover, Marc
Allégret (1900-1973), who had been entrusted to him by his father, the pastor Élie Allégret, his former tutor. On his return from the trip, Gide published his travel diary.
If he did not formally condemn colonization as a system, he denounced its abuses. The writer had been, indeed, the indignant witness of the exploitation of the natives by the big concessionary companies. Visiting Roger
Martin du Gard on his return, he could not contain his emotion when reading a report, however old, on a tribe "oppressed by our colonization". Martin du Gard noted in his Diary: "His sensitivity returns shaken from his trip. He is as vibrant as a microphone record" (quoted by Michel Winnock, Le Siècle des intellectuels, p.
223). André Gide thus wished to alert the public authorities and to mobilize public opinion; he was going to be served. The publication of the Journey to the Congo triggered polemics, press campaigns, an administrative inquiry and a debate in the Chamber. The bush newspaper, it is true, drew up the other side of the scene. It preserves the appeal of the adventure story, while delivering at times a subversive message, in the line of the critical journeys that go from the Supplement to Bougainville's Journey to Tristes Tropiques.
"Exceptional work by its tone and the richness of its content, the Voyage au Congo, unknown by the general public to the benefit of more complacent works, constitutes the most irreplaceable monument for the history of Africa in the first half of the twentieth century by the striking presentation that it makes of the situations, men and mentalities that characterize the colonial age" (Beti, Dictionary of Negritude, p. 73).
An exceptional copy enriched with a unique collection of 204 original photographs by
Marc Allégret taken during the trip.
The Médiathèque de l'architecture et du patrimoine in Paris, which preserves hundreds of negatives of Allégret's shots, emphasizes, in its presentation, their quality, which is due, first of all, to the truth of the look. "Marc Allégret was particularly interested in the men and women he met, photographing and filming them in their daily lives, their habitat and some of their customs that did not fail to fascinate him, including dances. The collection presented here is made up of negatives taken during his trip. Both men were not ethnologists and looked at their contemporaries with a view that oscillated between the prejudices inherent to their time and a humanistic approach.
Thus, Gide's work is considered one of the first to criticize the colonial regime.
With Voyage au Congo, the different media are thus intimately linked. The photographs are not to be seen as simple illustrations of a written narrative or a duplicate of the moving images. They are both independent and complementary to the film and the "Carnets de route". Capturing the women's hairstyles, scarification and mode of dress, but also the architecture of the huts, which differ according to the regions visited, Marc Allégret's images nevertheless have no anthropometric purpose, distinguishing themselves from the first travel photographs of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The aim was not to create typologies of populations, but to show and make known their way of life; this undertaking could sometimes be a real plea against forced labor and the poverty of local populations. Photographing to make known an elsewhere, such was the approach of the two men."
Provenance: Dominique de Villepin, with bookplate (2013, n° 115).
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