[François Claudius Koënigstein, dit RAVACHOL] Alphonse BERTILLON
[PHOTOGRAPHIE] Unique portrait photographique daté et signé par Ravachol connu à ce jour
S.n. , Paris [à la prison de la Conciergerie] s.d. [6 mai 1892], Cliché : 11,7x16,9 cm / Carton : 16,1x21,9 cm, une photographie.
[PHOTOGRAPH] Unique photographic portrait dated and signed by Ravachol as known to this day
s. n. | Paris [at the Conciergerie prison] s. d. [6 May 1892] | photo: 11.7 x 16.9 cm / board: 16.1 x 21.9 cm |a photograph
"Jugez-moi, messieurs les jurés, mais si vous m'avez compris, en me jugeant jugez tous les malheureux dont la misère, alliée à la fierté naturelle, a fait des criminels, et dont la richesse, dont l'aisance même aurait fait des honnêtes gens?!" "Judge me, gentlemen of the jury, but if you have understood me, in judging me, judge all the unfortunate people whose misery, united with natural pride, have made criminals, and for whom wealth, for whom affluence would have made honest people!"
Superb original photographic portrait of Ravachol taken by Alphonse Bertillon, contemporary print on albumen mounted on bristol board.
Extremely rare handwritten caption signed by the most famous of the French anarchists, written in his hesitant and naive handwriting, at the bottom of the photo: "1er mai 1892 Koningstein [sic] Ravachol" "1st May 1892 Koningstein [sic] Ravachol".
The spelling Koningstein chosen by Ravachol differs from his father's surname (Königstein). This variation confirmed by the Maintron (Biographical dictionary of the social and labour movement) is found in particular in a piece of his writing by hand dated 13 April 1892 and kept at the Conciergerie.
"?Un certain Varinard des Cotes a tracé son portrait graphologique. Il crut pouvoir noter l'absence d'orgueil et de vanité, la droiture et la loyauté des convictions" "A certain Varinard des Cotes drew his graphological portrait. He believed he could note the absence of pride and vanity, the righteousness and loyalty of convictions". (Ramonet et Chao, Guide du Paris rebelle, 2008).
We have not been able to find any other copy of this photograph in international public collections or on sale at auction. Autographs of the "Christ de l'anarchie" "Christ of anarchy" are extremely rare. We know only of this unique, signed photograph of Ravachol with the exception of the one mentioned in the Conciergerie surveillance reports: "Le nommé Ravachol nous a fait voir sa photographie sur le recto de laquelle il a inscrit ces mots?: «?à tous ceux que j'ai aimé. Mon cœur sera toujours près de vous, ma dernière pensée sera pour vous. Tous mes baisers" "The named Ravachol showed us his photograph on the front of which he wrote these words: "To all those whom I have loved. My heart will always be near you, my last thought will be for you. All my love". Signed Ravachol. He intended to send this photograph to his brother, along with a letter summarised as follows: "Comme vous le voyez, je suis souriant sur ma photographie, vous pourrez donc en déduire que mon sort n'est pas si triste que vous le pensez. Il ne me manque qu'une chose?: la liberté. Du reste je ne fais aucune différence entre ma vie en prison et celle que je menais auparavant. Toutes les deux ne sont que souffrance. Le vrai bonheur n'existera pour moi que lorsque je verrai la réalisation de mes projets, si cela ne se peut, je préfère la mort. J'envisage ces deux points le sourire aux lèvres?." "As you can see, I am smiling in my photograph, so you can assume that my fate is not as sad as you might think. I miss only one thing: freedom. Otherwise, I notice no difference between my life in prison and the one I led before. Both know only suffering. True happiness will only exist for me when I see my projects realised, if that is not possible, I prefer death. I consider these two points with a smile on my lips". (8 May 1892). We were un able to identify this photo and have found no other trace of it since this report. For that matter, we are not certain that this photograph still exists. Like ours, it was taken during a sitting at the Conciergerie prison on 6 May 1892 during which several poses were taken. Therefore, Ravachol backdated his dedication by probably using the symbolic date 1st May 1892, the first anniversary of the Fourmies massacre.
Mention is certainly made of our photo in the memoires of the photographer and father of anthropometry, Alphonse Bertillon: "Ce fut l'identification de l'anarchiste Ravachol qui consacra la sûreté de sa méthode. Ravachol avait fait sauter au moyen d'une bombe l'immeuble où habitait alors le procureur de la République ainsi que le restaurant Véry et menaçait de continuer cette besogne de destruction quand il fut arrêté au milieu d'une foule hurlante qui voulait le mettre en pièces, au point qu'il arriva au service anthropométrique avec un visage boursouflé, tuméfié, hideux. Il fallut toute la diplomatie, toute la pénétration psychologique d'Alphonse Bertillon pour le convaincre de se laisser mensurer et photographier. Ravachol exprima le désir, vu l'état effrayant de son visage, d'être photographié une seconde fois dès que ses plaies et ses ecchymoses seraient guéries. Bertillon le lui promit et tint parole, il poussa même la délicatesse vis-à-vis de ce bandit jusqu'à lui porter dans la cellule qu'il occupait au dépôt un exemplaire de son portrait collé sur bristol. Et Ravachol qui ne pouvait en croire ses yeux, de s'écrier?: - vous êtes un honnête homme, vous au moins, monsieur Bertillon." "It was the identification of the anarchist Ravachol who established the reliability of his method. Ravachol had blown up the building with a bomb where the public prosecutor was living at the time, as well it housing the Véry Restaurant, and he threatened to continue this destruction work when he was arrested in the middle of a screaming crowd who wanted him in pieces, so much so that he arrived at the anthropometric service with a puffed up, swollen, unsightly face. It required all Alphonse Bertillon's diplomacy, all his psychological penetration, to convince him to let himself be measured and photographed. Ravachol expressed a desire, given the frightening state of his face, to be photographed a second time as soon as his wounds and his bruises were healed. Bertillon promised him and kept his word, he even showed gentleness towards this bandit so far as to bring him in his cell a copy of his portrait mounted on bristol board. And Ravachol, who could not believe his eyes, exclaimed: - you are an honest man, you at least, Monsieur Bertillon." (Suzanne Bertillon, Vie d'Alphonse Bertillon l'inventeur de l'anthropométrie, 1941). This highly accurate testimony sheds light on the significance of Ravachol's arrest in the famous criminologist's career and the particular relationship linking the two men. It must be said that it was Bertillon himself who proceeded to identify the activist who had been "bertillonné" (captured by Bertillon) two years earlier, demonstrating the efficacy of his classification method with vigour: this first record was among 500,000 others, already carried out since the creation of the Judicial Identification Service in 1889.
We do not know to whom Ravachol intended this portrait that he so carefully considered, but the absence of a dedicatee and the highly symbolic date he affixed to it, the ultimate challenge to the police state, suggests that he offered it to a supporter of his cause.
An extremely rare contemporary print of the anarchist icon Ravachol, whose name - immortalised in popular culture - will even become a common name, from one of Captain Haddock's insults ("?Mille millions de mille milliards de mille sabords?!...Espèce de cannibale?! ... Bachi-bouzouk?! ... Ravachol?!..." "A thousand millions of a thousand billions of a thousand portholes!...You cannibal!... Bachi-bouzouk!... Ravachol!...") to a Bérurier Noir punk litany: "Salut à toi l'Espagnol / Salut à toi le Ravachol?!" "Hi to you Spaniard / Hi to you Ravachol!".
6 000 €
Réf : 72079