Exhibition "Philippe Gaussot. Photography and humanitarian work with refugees from the Spanish War

Exhibition "Philippe Gaussot. Photography and humanitarian work with refugees from the Spanish War
Dis, 28. Octubre 2023 - Diu, 18. Febrer 2024
Exposició Temporal Històric EN


Exhibition "Philippe Gaussot. Photography and humanitarian work with refugees from the Spanish War"

From October 28, 2023 to February 18, 2024

Opening: Saturday, October 28 at 12 noon

Curated by Felip Solé

Collaboration: Gaussot Family and Association 24 d'Aôut 1944 (Paris)

The French photographer and humanitarian activist Philippe Gaussot (Belfort, 1911- Chamonix, 1977) starred, witnessing with his camera, different episodes of the Spanish War linked to humanitarian aid, such as the organization of children's camps in France and support for refugees entering France in February 1939.

At the end of the Spanish Civil War, helped by several Catalan and Basque comrades, he often crosses the border to supply the republicans mired in the disasters of the war. In February 1939, he made his last clandestine trip and returned in a truck loaded with children and women: "Our last trip was to Puigcerdà, where I drove a seven-ton truck, with the help of two militiamen, to mined streets". Already in France, Philippe Gaussot and the National Catholic Committee provide several concentration camps and help found settlements to accommodate women and children. When the Second World War broke out, unable to be mobilized due to health problems, he was appointed national delegate of the Committee where he was in charge of the reconversion of exiles. In this way he turned lawyers or merchants into turners or adjusters. He also actively participated in the resistance against the Nazis and enlisted in the F.F.I (French Forces of the Interior). At the end of the war, Philippe Gaussot settled in the Alps, in Chamonix, where he worked as a journalist for Le Dauphiné Libéré until his death.

The exhibition presents a selection of Philippe Gaussot's photographs discovered by his son Jean-Philippe Gaussot in a suitcase after his father's death.

Through Felip Solé, director and film maker, the negatives were entrusted to the association 24 Août 1944 in Paris. This whole team, with the complicity of the historian Gregory Tuban, has worked with the MUME to be able to show this selection of almost a hundred photographs for the first time in Catalonia.

The exhibition is divided into two parts. On the one hand, the series of photos Philippe Gaussot and the children's camps of the National Catholic Committee (1937-1940) represents the reception of Basque and Catalan children sent to France to escape the horrors of war. Away from the sound of guns, they were able to smile again on the school benches or doing collective tasks and games. On the other side, La Retirada (Retreat) and the concentration camps (1939) shows the paths and difficult circumstances of the exile of republican refugees. Gaussot followed the exodus, step by step, in the middle of February, along snowy mountain paths, to reach a hypothetical refuge in France. The reception will be very disappointing since, especially the soldiers of the People's Army of the Republic, will have to sleep on the icy beaches of the concentration camps of Roussillon (South of France), closed by barbed wire, guarded by armed soldiers, Senegalese, Algerian Spahis and gendarmes.

These negatives represent an exceptional testimony and have the photographic quality of the best photographers of the time. Despite his testimonial function, relating to the humanitarian aid work linked to the National Catholic Committee, a religious aid organization of which he was a representative and delegate, they convey to the public not only the disorder of the exodus or the anxiety and the anguish of these people, but also the pride, the dignity and, above all, the combativeness.

More information about Philippe Gaussot:

Web Gaussot (Jean-Philippe Gaussot)

Exposición "Caminos del exilio. Colonias infantiles y campos de La Retirada: la obra humanitaria y fotográfica de Philippe Gaussot", Ministerio de Justicia, 2019

Artículo en "El Español" - Las fotos inéditas del exilio republicano que han sido descubiertas en una maleta (2019)

Exposición "Caminos del exilio, fotografías de Philippe Gaussot", Gijón, 2022

Exposición "Caminos del exilio, fotografías de Philippe Gaussot, Madrid, Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo, 2023

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