The conquest of Saigon in 1859 by Admiral Rigault de Genouilly and the ensuing spread of French influence through Indochina and Cambodia was the first colonial success of the Second Empire. To commemorate the achievement, the admiral, who had become minister of the Navy, presented Empress Eugénie in 1867 with a luxuriously bound album of photographs entitled Cochinchine et Cambodge, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. The photographs were made by Gsell, a Frenchman stationed in Saigon, of whom nothing more is yet known except that in June 1866 he accompanied the naval captain Doudart de Lagrée on a scientific mission along the Mekong River. In this advertisement for Gsell's Saigon studio, the breadth of his work is artfully arranged around the photographer's calling card.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso TC: "Types of Cochin China, taken in Saigon, the capital"
(Swann Galleries, Lot 297, November 14, 1986); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 48".
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 42," January 10, 2006–April 23, 2006.