“A SENSE OF RHYTHM AND A SENSE OF LIFE”: SCARCE COMPLETE THREE-VOLUME SET OF ROBERT DELPIRE’S FAMED COLLECTION HUIT, WITH FIRST EDITIONS OF CARTIER-BRESSON’S LES DANSES A BALI, 1954, ROBERT DOISNEAU’S LES PARISIENS, 1954, AND GEORGE RODGER’S LE VILLAGE DES NOUBAS
(DELPIRE, Robert). Collection Huit: CARTIER-BRESSON, Henri. Les danses à bali [Dances in Bali]. WITH: DOISNEAU, Robert. Les Parisiens tels qu’ils sont [Parisiens As They Are]. WITH: RODGER, George. Le Village des noubas [The Village of the Nubas]. Paris: Collection Huit / Robert Delpire, (1954), (1954), 1955. Three volumes. Small octavo, original white paper-covered boards, mounted cover labels, original photographic dust jackets (pink, yellow & green respectively). Housed in custom slipcase.
First editions, the prestigious three-volume “Collection Huit,” produced by noted French publisher Robert Delpire, featuring the first Cartier-Bresson work published by Delpire, Les danses à bali, along with the first volume in this series, “Doisneau’s Les Parisiens tels qu’ils sont,” and the concluding volume, George Rodger’s “Le Village des noubas,” each with numerous black-and-white halftones (many double-page), scarce complete. From the collection of acclaimed photographer Peter Turnley.
Robert Delpire founded his landmark publishing house in 1951, at a time when Paris “was an important centre for innovation… Delpire’s basic agenda was to publish work that was broadly in the documentary vein—as exemplified by his close friend Cartier-Bresson. Delpire had a keen interest in anthropology, and… in the early 1950s, for example, he published the likes of Brassaïs’ Séville en fête (Seville Festival, 1954), Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Les Danses à bali (Dances at Bali, 1954), Robert Doisneau’s Les Parisiens tels qu’ils sont (Parisiens As They Are, 1954) [and] George Rodger’s Le Village des noubas (The Village of the Nubas, 1955)”—with the latter three photobooks constituting this highly acclaimed Collection Huit (Parr & Badger I:189-190). Delpire would continue to explore such new horizons with his subsequent publication of Robert Frank’s Les Américains (1958), and his ongoing collaborations with Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, and others.
Delpire’s groundbreaking series, scarce complete in this set of first editions, premiered with Doisneau’s Les Parisiens. That pioneering volume was followed by Les Danses à bali, Cartier-Bresson’s first photobook after Images à la sauvette (The Decisive Moment, 1952). This would establish Cartier-Bresson’s longtime working relationship with acclaimed Delpire. It was here that Cartier-Bresson sought to catch “with a camera… a sense of rhythm and a sense of life, a sense of liberty” (Digital Journalist)—distinctive elements in his “thoroughly clear-eyed view of the world—astute, non-sentimental, beautiful, profound” (Parr & Badger I:209). The series concluded with Rodger’s Le Village des noubas. “Best known for photographs he took at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp when it was liberated by British troops in April 1945,” Rodger co-founded Magnum with Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, and was praised by Cartier-Bresson as a man who “belongs to the great tradition of explorers and adventurers.” Text in French. Les Parisiens with 56 “elegant black-and-white photographs seem the perfect embodiment of Gallic wit and romance” (New York Times); Les Danses à bali with 44 halftones of “entranced dancers Cartier-Bresson photographed in Bali in 1949, whirling in ecstasy” (Guardian); Le Village des noubas with 38 full-page halftones of the Nuba tribe of southern Sudan, including one of Roger’s most famous photographs, that of a muscular dust-covered Nuba wrestler being carried on the shoulders of another fighter.” From the collection of acclaimed Paris-based photojournalist Peter Turnley, who has covered “almost every important international news event of the last 15 years” for Newsweek and Harper’s Magazine (New York Times); each volume signed by Turnley. Le Village with bookplate.
All three volumes with images quite fresh; light toning to spine of Les Danses, only light tape reinforcement to verso of bright, original dust jackets. An exceptional series, scarce complete, in near-fine condition.