Fifteen loose platinum prints ca. 17x23 cm (6 ½ x 9 in). Twelve albumen photographs, including eight ca. 13x19,5 cm (5 x 7 ¾ in) or slightly smaller, and four from ca. 16,5x23 cm (6 ½ x 9 in) to ca. 16x21 cm (6 ¼ x 8 ¼ in). Four larger albumen photos with blind stamps “D-A-C” in the corners and ink stamps “”Reproduction interdite sans autorisation de la Direction des Arts Phnom-Penh (Cambodge)” on verso. A couple of photos with minor corner losses, one with a small tear neatly repaired, a couple of images very mildly faded, but overall a very good collection of interesting strong images.
A historically important collection of early 20th-century photos of Angkor Wat and the nearby temples, almost certainly related to the work and travels in Cambodia of George Groslier (1887-1945). A noted historian, archaeologist, architect, and ethnographer, Groslier founded the National Museum of Cambodia and the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. In the 1910s he extensively travelled across the French protectorate of Cambodia and published several works on the ancient Khmer architecture, illustrated with his photos (A l’Ombre d’Angkor: Notes et Impressions. Paris, 1916; Recherches sur les Cambodgiens d’après les textes et les monuments depuis les premiers siècles de notre ère. Paris, 1921; Arts et Archéologie Khmers: Revue des Recherches sur les arts, les monuments, et l’ethnographie du Cambodge, depuis les origines jusqu’à nos jours. 2 vols. in 7 parts, 1921-26). Stylistically, the photos from our collection, especially the larger platinum prints, are very similar to the photos illustrating the aforementioned Groslier’s books.
The photos include general views of Angkor Wat, closer views of its western gate and the central pyramid, towers, galleries, a doorway through an inner inclosure, richly carved walls and columns (one of the columns features a bas-relief of a devata spirit). A couple of photos show other Angkorian temples (possibly, including the Bayon temple) densely covered with vegetation. Several photos feature Cambodians posing in the temples’ settings; two photos depict French travellers – two men on one photo and a man and two women on the other photo, posing in the Angkor Wat’s inner enclosure. Four photos of Khmer head sculptures and a devata bas-relief were taken for the Musée du Cambodge (now the National Museum of Cambodia) founded by Groslier in 1920. Two photographed sculptures have labels with the museum numbers, and all photos have the ink stamps of the “Direction des Arts cambodgiens” – a colonial governing body over the production and distribution of the objects of art in Cambodia, founded in 1919 and headed by Groslier himself (Abbe, G. “Decadence and Revival in Cambodian Arts and the Role of George Groslier (1887-1945)”// Cultural Heritage as Civilizing Mission. From Decay to Recovery: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Cultural Heritage and the Temples of Angkor (Chair of Global Art History, Heidelberg University, 8-10 May 2011)/ Ed. by M. Falser. Springer International Publishing, 2015. p. 129). Overall a historically important early photo collection showing Angkor Wat and other examples of the Khmer architecture.