Des voyageurs à l’épreuve du terrain
To explore Babylon, Pergamon, or the cities of the antique Orient was no easy task at the time of the pioneers. Nor today for that matter. What was the hidden side of those missions, how were they organized, financed or prepared? How were the discoveries or the memory of the expeditions transmitted? This catalogue that accompanies an exhibition until 19 September delved into the treasure of the Archives nationales to unveil the secrets of great voyageurs between 1800 and 1960. Every day adventures and misadventures included illnesses (list of those who suffered from scurvy on the Géographe during the Baudin expedition in 1801 to the island of Mauritius), material problems (photos of the Faidherbe, the portable steam boat which the Marchand Congo-Nil expedition in 1896-99 placed on each water way) and more serious dangers (note from the ministry of Foreign Affairs on the murder of Dutreuil de Rhins in Tibet in 1894). A few very moving lots give a more contemporary aspect to the whole: the letter from candidate Paul Emile Victor to board the Pourquoi pas ? of commander Charcot in 1933 or, forty years earlier, the one from Gauguin who wished to be entrusted with an artistic mission to Tahiti.
Review published in the newsletter #428 - from 28 April 2016 to 4 May 2016