Professor at the National Museum of Natural History and former director of the Musée de l’Homme (both in Paris), Robert Gessain (1907-1986) was a doctor, an ethnologist, a psychoanalyst, and an explorer. A student at the Institute of Ethnology, then at the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro (which became the Musée de l’Homme in 1937), he was asked to leave for the Great North abord the Pourquoi-Pas ?, the polar vessel of commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot. He embarked in July 1934 from Saint-Servan for Eastern Greenland with the other members of the exhibition, including a young Paul-Émile Victor. The expedition wintered on the island of Ammassalik for more than a year, sharing the daily life of the Inuits, then barely known to the outside world. From this first trip, Robert Gessain brought back a wealth of anthropologic, ethnologic, and linguistic observations complete with remarkable photographs. With ethnologist Paul-Émile Victor, he contributed to enriching the Musée de l’Homme’s Arctic collections of around 4,000 objects. Today, an exhibition in Chartres-de-Bretagne gathers the amazing photographs of this exceptional journey.
Galerie Carré d'Art, Centre culturel
Pôle Sud 1 rue de la Conterie 35131 Chartres-de-Bretagne France
November 16, 2017 to January 24, 2018