Algeria: [Gervais-Courtellemont & Cie], . A series of evocative photogravures of Alger by Jean Geiser, a Swiss who spent much of his life in Algeria. Most images are of street scenes, daily life, portraits of Algerians or architecture. The photographer clearly had great affection and respect for the people he photographed. Apparently rare; OCLC: 40622621 cites only 1 copy at the NYPL, catalogued under "Collection de l'Algérie artistique & pittoresque", by A Fraigneau, 1893, 1 volume folio, Alger, J. Gervais-Courtellemont & Cie.
Most of the 43 photogravures are signed "J. Geiser, Photograveur, Rue Bab-Azoun. 7 - Alger" in the lower right corner, with the title in the lower left, (some of these with image numbers). 25 images w/ Geiser text & titles; 11 with no titles or Geiser attribution; 6 images with the imprint "L'Algerie Artistique et Pittoresque" in the lower right corner, without the Geiser imprint and one original photogravure image signed in pencil "J. Geiser Alger" of a young Algerian man. All printed on heavy paper 9 3/4 x 12 5/8", the 6 "l'Algerie Artistique" on somewhat thinner paper. Geiser was also known for boudoir cards, none of which there are in this collection.
Jean Geiser was born in Switzerland 1848, and moved with his family to Algeria in the 1850s. His father died about 1852 and his mother and her partner continued their work there until returning to Switzerland. Jean founded his own photographic atelier in Alger in the late 1860s at Rue Bab-Azoun 7, and took over the company of Alary & Geiser in 1874. Geiser's studio evolved to one of the most known and successful photo-studios in Algeria, with a subsidiary in Blida. Next to his studio photography, he covered all aspects of colonial photography on travels throughout the country. His business flourished especially by the success of printed photo postcards, which got more and more popular at the end of the 19th century. In France he gained a high reputation as a photographer of orientalist and colonial photography and won several prizes and gold medals at photographic competitions, i.e. gold medal at Amsterdam 1892 and at the Exposition Internationale in Nice in 1901. (Ref. available on request.)
There is an extensive review of the book published in 1905 in "Revue de l'Art ancienne et Moderne", Paris 1905, edit. Jules Comte, available on archive.org.
Folio, 32p text. In the publishers red pebble cloth portfolio with title in Arabic on the front board. With some of the original ties. 10 1/4 x 13 3/8". Boards quite soiled; spine covered with clear tape. Some images dusty but overall in very good condition. Item #25870