Émile Gsell - The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation New York Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Drouot, Paris, 17 November 2000, lot 758

  • Catalogue Essay

    Emile Gsell first traveled to Cochinchine Français, the French colony that comprised most of present-day Vietnam, while serving in the French military. In 1866 he was hired as the photographer for a governmental expedition of the Mekong River. This journey took him into Cambodia, where he was the first to take photographs of the temple ruins at Angkor Watt, several of which are included in this album. Upon his return, Gsell opened the first photographic studio in Saigon. In the late 1860s and into the 1870s, Gsell made many fine views of Saigon and environs, while also traveling as far north as Haiphong. He also made portrait studies in the studio and the field, including ones of King Norodom of Cambodia and his family.

    Gsell’s photographs gave many Europeans their first glimpse of Vietnam, Cambodia, and their peoples. The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns an album of Gsell’s work, originally presented to Empress Eugénie of France, that contains 26 photographs. The comparatively large album of 130 photographs offered here presents a remarkable primary geographic and cultural photographic record.


Cochinchine Française - Cambodge (French South Vietnam and Cambodia)

circa 1875
Album with 130 mounted albumen prints. Each with plate number in the negative; titled in an unidentified hand in ink on each leaf. Oblong folio, leather cover with impressed title.
Varying dimensions from 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 in. (9.2 x 5.7 cm) to 12 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (31.1 x 23.5 cm) or the reverse

$15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $32,500

Contact Specialist
Rachel Peart
+1 212 940 1246

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries:
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The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation

New York 3 October 2017