Emile Gsell, ‘Cochinchine Française - Cambodge (French South Vietnam and Cambodia)’, circa 1875, Phillips

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

From the Catalogue:
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.
Courtesy of Phillips

Drouot, Paris, 17 November 2000, lot 758