The Sunday porch: Norway


Employees of a hotel, Fagernes, Norway, August 12, 1910, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

I thought it was worth showing even a corner of this really pretty pink porch.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker who was committed to the ideal of universal peace and believed that “knowledge of foreign cultures encourages respect and peaceful relations between nations.”* He was also acutely aware that the 20th century was going to bring rapid material change to the world.

Accordingly, from 1909 to 1931, Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.’”† The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*Collections Albert Kahn website. Also, the above photo (A 288) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.
†words of Albert Kahn, 1912.

Verneuil-le-Chétif, France


“Procession at the cemetery of Verneuil-le-Chétif” (Sarthe, Pays de la Loire), France, November 2, 1920, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

The image is labeled “2 novembre,” but I wonder if it was actually taken the day before, on All Saints’ Day, a day for visiting family graves and leaving chrysanthemums.

This autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 24 573 X) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Memory of a summer

One of the terraces of Hotel Splendid (I believe), in the spa town of Châtel-Guyon, France, ca. 1900 – ca. 1910, via Vladimir Tkalčić on flickr (used under CC license).

The writing across the postcard says “Il y a une vingtaine d’années” — “Twenty years ago.” On the back is an undated note addressed to someone in Zagreb. The affixed stamp was issued in 1927.