With Many Interesting Early Algerian Ethnographic Portraits

[Album with Thirty-Six Mounted Albumen Studio Cabinet Photographs of Algeria with many Ethnographic Portraits, Titled:] Souvenir d’Algérie.

Ca. 1890. Oblong quarto album (ca. 16,5x26 cm). 36 card stock leaves. With 36 albumen studio cabinet photographs, each ca. 9,5x15 cm (3 ¾ x 5 ¾ in) or slightly smaller, all mounted on the album leaves. One studio cabinet card with a printed caption, twenty-three cards – with printed studio names (two of Jean Geiser, the rest – of Famin & Cie). Period maroon half morocco album with cloth boards and gilt lettered title “Souvenir d’Algérie” on the front board. Occasional foxing of the mounts, but overall a very good album of strong cabinet photos.

Attractive keepsake album with thirty-six albumen photos, thirty-four taken by Algiers-based photographers Paul-Marie Famin and Jean Geiser, whose studios in the city historical center were situated right next to each other (Rue Bab-Azoun, houses No. 8 and 7 respectively). Twenty-one photos from the studio of Paul-Marie Famin and include two general views of the Algiers harbour and a typical photo of its narrow street with stairs leading up. The rest of the photos are individual and group portraits of the Algerian people – some taken in the studio interior, some – in local villages and camps. Very interesting are portraits of musicians (women and men with tambourines, drums, krakebs, native stringed instruments), men with donkeys laden with firewood, an elder, a man (most likely, French) dressed in Algerian costume, a warrior with a shield and spear, studio portraits of women and girls (detailing on their costumes and jewellery), and others. Two photos on the studio cards of Jean Geiser show two Algerians talking on a cacti-grown lane, and three men resting next to a small bridge. Two photos at rear reproduce oil paintings depicting a funeral procession of Dominican monks (one of them is signed “P. Daniel” and titled “Convoi Funèbre”). Overall an attractive collection of Algerian portraits and views in the late 19th century.
Paul-Marie Famin operated his studio in Algiers until his death in 1911. His son André-Adrien took part in General Joseph Galliéni’s military expedition to Sudan in 1886-88. Swiss-born Jean Geiser took over the Algiers photography studio of his father in the late 1860s and operated it until 1921. His studio became one of the largest and successful in Algeria, with a wide range of oriental and colonial photography, including nude portraits.

Item #250

Price: $1,500.00 USD