FIRST EDITIONS OF FRANÇOIS KOLLAR’S LA FRANCE TRAVAILLE, 1932-34, WITH OVER 1100 PHOTOGRAVURES, INCLUDING VIEWS OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
KOLLAR, Francois. La France Travaille. Paris: Horizons de France, (1932-1934). Two volumes. Folio, contemporary three quarter-blue morocco, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, original front wrappers bound in, top edges gilt. $1350.
First editions of Kollar’s important series on the French worker, pioneering works in what critic Pierre Mac Orlan “famously termed the ‘social fantastic of the street”—featuring striking images of the Eiffel Tower and French high fashion, with over 1100 photogravures, many tinted and full-page, complete with 15 heliogravure wrappers bound in.
In early 20th-century photography, “a major factor in the dominance of Paris in the 1920s and 1930s is the emergence and success of a new form of publishing, the mass circulation photographically illustrated magazine. Although the magazine concept was pioneered in Germany… a new market in France for illustrative photography” flourished with “the dramatic compositions pioneered by the Constructivists and the Bauhaus photographers to record what one influential commentator of the era, Pierre Mac Orlan, famously termed the ‘social fantastic of the street.’ This new photography—baptized la nouvelle vision—to the extent that it presented ordinary life to a mass audience, was infused with increasingly humanistic perspectives… With only one or two galleries showing photography…. books or serials were a key outlet for innovative work such as Brassaï’s Paris de nuit (1933) or François Kollar’s La France travaille [France at Work]” (Lenman, 234). Bound in rich morocco, these two folio volumes contain the complete serialized works in Kollar’s groundbreaking documentary project commissioned by Éditions des Horizons de France. Especially notable are outstanding views of the Eiffel Tower featuring a striking brown-toned plate, images of French haute couture, and the humanism of Kollar’s nouvelle vision in capturing the lives of French workers. With over 1100 photogravures, many full-page, including numerous tinted plates; essays by Paul Valéry, Lucian Fabre, Pierre Hamp, Émile Conroyer, Jean Prévost, Jean Rostand and other leading writers. Original serial wrappers bound in at rear of each volume. Text in French.
Plates and text fresh and bright. Two impressive volumes in fine condition.