THE FIRST PHOTOBOOK BY ROBERT FRANK, INSCRIBED BY GEORGES ARNAUD
BISCHOF, Werner and FRANK, Robert and VERGER, Pierre. Text by ARNAUD, George. Indiens pas morts. (Paris: Robert Delpire, 1956). Quarto, original cream cloth, photographic endpapers, original photographic dust jacket. $1200.
First edition of the classic photobook co-authored by Werner Bischof, Robert Frank and Pierre Verger, the first posthumous work of Bischof and the first to name Robert Frank as author, preceding his Les Américains by two years, with 77 black-and-white photogravures, 14 by Frank, who was hired to complete the work after the sudden death of Bischof, this copy warmly inscribed by George Arnaud, author of the book’s text, on the half title, “Pour Herbert Juin, les cordial hommages de George Arnaud,”-notably, Arnaud’s classic first novel Le Salaire de la peur (Wages of Fear, 1950) changed film history in its 1953 adaptation by Henri-George Clouzot.
Indiens pas morts, an exceptional photo-essay documenting the lives of South American Indians, was only partially complete when French publisher Robert Delpire called on Robert Frank to aid in its publication. Progress had been halted when Magnum photographer Werner Bishof was killed on a Peru mountainside. Before his sudden death Bischof "won renown as an exceptional photographic witness of this time. One of the first to be invited into the Magnum agency," co-founded by Robert Capa, news of Bischof's death reached Vietnam only hours after news was announced of Capa's own tragic death by a mine outside Hanoi (New York Times). Robert Frank, whose landmark photobook Les Américains would be published two years later by Delpire, here assisted the publisher by suplementing Indiens pas morts with 14 of his own photographs, taken on a 1948 trip to Peru. Frank's images are the first to be published in book form after seven were featured in Steichen's 1955 MoMA catalogue for the exhibit Family of Man, and others appeared in a special December 1952 issue of the French magazine Neuf. Text in French. See Parr & Badger II:190. The book is memorably inscribed by French writer George Arnaud (1917-87), who based his first novel Le Salaire de la peur (Wages of Fear, 1950) on his own experiences in South America. Arnaud's novel was the basis for Henri-George Clouzot's classic 1953 film of the same title. Recipient is Herbert Juin, a noted French literary scholar.
A fine copy, scarce inscribed.