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Dessins et peintures d'Afrique
One volume in-folio in publisher's original full filali (goat) lace-up folder, text bound in black silk printed with ethnographic motifs, spine in tan suede (Felix binding). (Some scuffing and soiling to the binding, one lace cut, upper hinge cracked, some foxing).
First edition including an unpaginated notebook entirely illustrated with sketches in the text by the official painter of the Citroën expedition and a suite of 50 plates out of text in colors.
One of 750 copies on Navarre vellum, this one n° 377.
Our copy also includes the program of the Théâtre national de l'Opéra for the performance of the film La croisière noire on the evenings of March 4 and 9 and on the mornings of March 7 and 14 (2 folios with black and white illustration of plate 1 on the first page and itinerary on the back) as well as the musical program performed during the projection (2 folios . in-8) The Croisière Noire, also known as the Citroën Central Africa Expedition or the second Haardt Audouin-Dubreuil mission, was the first trans-African automobile expedition. Launched by André Citroën in order to promote his brand and challenge his competitors, the Expedition proved to be audacious, as much by the advertising aspect as by the political, cultural and scientific aspect.
Citroën's project was to cross the continent from north to south with his own vehicles, bringing together ethnologists, geologists, meteorologists, zoologists, anthropologists, geographers and cartographers. His project received a favorable reception from high government officials, including the President of the French Republic, Gaston Doumergue, but also from two learned societies: the Geographical Society and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
The expedition, led by Georges-Marie Haardt and Louis Audouin-Dubreuil, had 17 members, including the painter Alexandre Iacovleff.
The Black Cruise started on October 28, 1924 from Colom-Béchar (Algeria). The itinerary proposed a new route across the Sahara, linking the colonies of Niger, Chad and Oubangui-Chari before reaching Stanleyville and the Belgian Congo through the equatorial forest. The expedition was not easy, the practicable roads being extremely rare: it had to trace its own tracks, cutting the high grass with a machete, crossing the swamps, the savannah, ... At the end of nine thousand kilometers and a little less than five months, the expedition made a stopover of 11 days in Stanleyville. Then they headed for Lake Victoria where the mission split into four groups in order to reach Madagascar by different routes (they crossed Kenya, Tanganyika, Nyassaland, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa).
The expedition ends on June 26, 1925 after more than 20,000 kilometers covered. On their return in the autumn of 1925, the participants were triumphantly received.
The André Citroën's autochenilles, the objects brought back, the botanical plates, the sketch books, the photographs, the insect samples and others never listed will be the subject of several exhibitions, in particular at the Louvre museum.
Alexander Iacovleff (1887-1938) was a Russian painter and draftsman. A student at the Saint Petersburg School of Fine Arts, where he received classical training in pastel and sanguine, he obtained a scholarship from the academy and left his native city in 1913 for Italy and Spain. A second trip took him to Japan and China, which he left after the October Revolution of 1917. He settled in Paris, Montparnasse, where he frequented the Russian community. A few prestigious commissions earned him a good reputation, particularly as a portraitist. But he remained above all a painter and traveler, and his meeting with Georges-Marie Haardt led him to join the team of the Croisière Noire, a publicity and philanthropic mission initiated by André Citroën. 1931-1932, Georges-Marie Haardt offered him to join the adventure of the Croisière jaune. From these two Citroën expeditions, he brought back faithful testimonies through a considerable number of notes and drawings representing portraits of the people he met, the landscapes he crossed, etc. In 1934, he accepted the position of director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He returned to France in 1937 where he died the following year.