WITH the retreat from Dunkirk so much in the news at the moment, Aguttes have a particularly topical offering in their June 18 sale of manuscripts, postcards and historical documents.
The Neuilly-based étude is selling three posters, reproducing
Général de Gaulle's first rallying call to arms to the French
nation from exile in London, that was put out over the BBC airwaves
on June 18, 1940 in response to Maréchal Pétain's announcement that
he was to sign the armistice.
The posters reproduce the text of de Gaulle's now famous appeal
addressed A Tous Les Français and beginning La France
à perdu une bataille mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre
(France has lost a battle but not lost the war).
The first and most expensive to be offered, carrying an estimate
of 10,000-15,000 Euros, is a first impression of the version
printed in London by Achille Olivier Fallek for display in London
and other British towns on August 3 and 4, 1940, which has a small
English translation of the speech inset to the lower left
The poster, which measures 2ft 6in x 22in (75.5 x 55.5cm) comes
with a provenance to Lieutenant Emmanuel Dupont, who was part of
the Free French forces, departing on expeditions to Africa before
he returned to Normandy in 1944 to take part in Général Leclerc's
advance on Paris where he was killed at Fresnes, just outside the
The poster was found folded among a large portfolio of
geographic sketches that Dupont had kept from his study days at
military school. It has survived in very good state with just the
fold marks and four holes at the corners where it was secured to
the wall with drawing pins.
Also on offer is a smaller version of the poster printed in
1944, with slight variations of the original London text and no
English translation. This is offered with two 7 1/2 x 5in (19 x 13
cm) handbills carrying an inscription translating as
Distributed by your Friends in the RAF, that were intended
to be dropped over France by British planes.
The lot is estimated at 1000-1500 Euros and a 15 x 11in (38 x
28cm) poster printed in Beirut in 1941 for the Free French
Territories is guided at 500-700 Euros.
By Anne Crane