DOISNEAU’S VISUAL DOCUMENTATION OF THE RENAULT PLANT, WITH 48 FULL-PAGE PHOTOGRAVURES
DOISNEAU, Robert. Doisneau. Paris: Hazan, (1988). Small octavo, original red paper wrappers, original metal plate slipcase with red automotive finish, held together with nuts and bolts. $850.
First edition of this intriguing exhibition souvenir, with metal “automotive” slipcase, containing 48 rich full-page photogravures of the Renault factory and its products.
Perhaps best-known for his documentation of working-class Paris (La Banlieue de Paris) and his high-society and fashion photography for Paris Vogue, Robert Doisneau was “one of France’s most popular and prolific reportage photographers, known for his modest, playful, and ironic images in amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes” (Encyclopedia of Photography). One of Doisneau’s first business opportunities was to produce commercial photographs for the Renault Corporation. His job was to create “a visual account of working life at Renault, from car parades to portraits of factory workers” (Renault), documenting both the blue-collar world of manufacturing and the white-collar world of luxury-car ownership. This unusual publication, intended as a souvenir of the 1988 Paris exhibition at La Grande Halle-La Villette, includes Doisneau’s pre-war (1934-39) and post-war (1945-50) images of the Renault plant and its products, revealing a little-known commercial aspect of his work. Text in French. See Icons of Photography, 106; Roth, 132; Parr & Badger, 201.