Entree D’un Tombean dans la Vallee des Rois Boissonnas, Fred  (Swiss, 1858-1946)

The Swiss photographer Frédéric (Fred) Boissonnas (1858‒1946) was invited to Egypt in 1929 by King Fuad I to gather photographic material for a major book commission, the lavish book Égypte [Egypt], published in Geneva in 1932. Travelling with his compatriot publisher and author Paul Trembley, he toured the country for eleven months creating images that referenced Egypt’s long history as well as its identity as a newly-founded state.

Boissonnas traversed what was once ancient Egypt with his large format camera; he photographed the landscape, the people and the architecture. Although we see the ruins of Pharaonic times and the progression of the architecture of Graeco-Roman, Coptic-Byzantine, Muslim, and modern, his photographs convey the impression that very little has changed in the structures and the lives of the people who inhabit them. We see veiled women in the streets, men at prayer, oxen in the field, and statues larger than life – all are bathed in strong light or hidden in the deep shadows. The choice of hand-pulled photogravure makes this certainly one of the finest of twentieth century photographic books of travel, and by far, the most fully realized of Boissonnas’ three major works

Boissonnas, Fred. ÉGYPTE. With contributions by Gustave Jeguier, Pierre Jouguet, Henri Munier, Paul Trembley and Gaston Wiet. Editions Paul Trembley Geneva 1932 First ed. Large thick folio, 190 (191-195) pp.,over 270 b&w photogravures in text (of varying size), and 40 full-page b&w photogravure plates with printed caption tissue guards; capitals, borders and other decorative devices printed in multi-colors throughout, full-page map printed in colors, decorative endpapers. Bound in modern vellum, titled and decorated in gilt and red, with beveled edges. Edition limited to 337 copies. Printing of this volume commenced in 1930 and was finished in 1932. The typography was by the firm of Ducros et Colas of Paris, and the gravures were printed by Leblanch et Trautmann of Paris. The entire edition was printed on a special handmade paper by Van Gelder of Amsterdam. The binding was by Jacques Wendling, Paris. http://www.latsis-foundation.org/eng/news/exhibition-fred-boissonnas-in-egypt-/2018


Nicolas Bouvier. Boissonnas a Dynasty of Photographers 1864-1983. Lausanne 1983.