Live auction - Lot 952


Antarctic expedition 1957-1959.

Hammer price: € 2.200

€ 2.000 / 3.000

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Lot description

218 silver prints, mainly b/w, various formats, pasted in, some ms. legends. 16 photos loosely joined.

Obl. 4to-size leather ad-hoc album.

Documenting the expedition made by Gaston de Gerlache (1919-2006), Belgian polar explorer and son of Adrien de Gerlache (1866-1934). Following his father's tracks Gaston led the second Belgian expedition to Antarctica in 1957-1959, 60 years after his father led the 1897-1899 Belgian Antarctic Expedition aboard the ship Belgica. Gaston and his crew established an Antarctic base named the King Baudouin Base in 1958. The album shows a training camp in Chamonix and even an old ticket to Aiguille du Midi, nowadays the highest cable car in France, to reach the glaciers near the Mont Blanc massif. The Antarctic team comprised 17 members and departed in the harbour of Antwerp aboard the "Polarhav" icebreaker. We see photos of the team members and their wives, some of the many preparations showing the construction of some kind of continuous track vehicles. Different with the expedition of his father, Gaston and his team now had a helicopter, a small plane and 3 caterpillar vehicles at their disposal which made movements across the ice surface easier. The journey at sea went without significant difficulties showing the rather amusing "theatrical" photos of the crew dressed up and performing. In December the expedition reached Antarctica. Really soon the basecamp King Baudouin was set up and served as scientific station to perform research into meteorological and geophysical phenomena of the southern lights and terrestrial magnetism. The album gives a very interesting insight into the goings-on of the expedition on different levels: encounter with the emperor penguins, a seal hunt to provide food for the expedition dogs, the construction of the pole base camp, recreation at the base camp, etc., and the return in Ostend where the team was met by King Baudouin also figuring on some of the photos. At the start of the album we find a greeting card drawn by Hergé and signed by the captain of the expedition, de Gerlache himself.

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Lot 952

Antarctic expedition 1957-1959.

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