La Comedie Francaise in Moscow

Paris: Paris Match, 1954. Original black-and-white single weight press photograph of the comedy troupe, La Comedie-Francaise, as they arrived in Moscow in 1954. Several members are being photographed with the main building of Moscow State University in the background, the highest of the "Seven Sisters," a group of Stalin-era skyscrapers in Moscow. Of the troupe, generally consisting of 20 or more actors and comedians at a given time, 11 are seen, among those recognizable are Beatrice Bretty, Mony Dalmes, Jean Yonnel, and a woman possibly Vera Koren or Gemaine Rouer. Even the Swiss-born clown "Grock" is present (hat and glasses), though he was not a member. From the archives of French magazine, "Paris Match," with their label on the recto at the top, and a ditto-style mimeo snipe affixed to the verso and folded under the bottom edge, detailing the scene and the reason for the comedians' visit, crediting reporter J. Mangeot (photographer uncredited). Brief annotations in holograph ink on the verso.

The comedy society began in 1680, with Michel Baron, Armande Bejart, Mademoiselle de Brie, Marie Champmesle, Mademoiselle Du Croisy, and Charles Varlet de La Grange amongst the founding members. Notable members have included Sarah Bernhardt, Berthe Cerny, Marie Bell, Fernand Ledoux, Paul Meurisse, Isabelle Adjani, and playwright Moliere, who was largely associated with the troupe. Several theatres have been the troupes central location over the years, all maintaining the Comedie-Francaise title, including the Odeon, the theatre in the royal palace of the Tuileries, and the theatre in the Salle Richelieu.

An unusual gathering of comedic personalities at the tail-end of Stalinist Russia, the photographer certain to capture the highest point of the tallest building in Europe.

9.25 x 12 inches. Very Good plus, with light soil, foxing, and curling.


[Book #143999]

Price: $275.00