The Popular Front on the march

The Popular Front on the march

  • 1934, Montrouge, Popular Front.

    KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

  • Supporters of the Popular Front.

    KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

  • Popular Front.

    KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

To close

Title: 1934, Montrouge, Popular Front.

Author : KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

Creation date : 1934

Date shown: 1934

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: photography

Storage location: Jeu de Paume website

Contact copyright: © Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész

Picture reference: KRT 1004ZZ6

1934, Montrouge, Popular Front.

© Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész

To close

Title: Supporters of the Popular Front.

Author : KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

Creation date : 1934

Date shown: 1934

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: photography

Storage location: Jeu de Paume website

Contact copyright: © Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész website

Picture reference: KRT 997ZZ3

Supporters of the Popular Front.

© Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész

To close

Title: Popular Front.

Author : KERTESZ André (1894 - 1985)

Creation date : 1934

Date shown: 1934

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: photography

Storage location: Jeu de Paume website

Contact copyright: © Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész website

Picture reference: KRT 997ZZ5

© Jeu de Paume / Photo André Kertész

Publication date: March 2016

Video

The Popular Front on the march

Video

Historical context

From open violence to symbolic confrontation

In February 1934, Paris returned to street violence that was believed to have disappeared. For several weeks, public space becomes the ground for possible clashes between the extra-parliamentary right and the anti-fascists.

However, the violence will gradually give way to symbolic clashes and demonstrations where everyone tries to show their strength to avoid having to use them. It finds its strongest expression in the powerful demonstration of July 14, 1935 called at the call of the three constituent parties of the Popular Front, the CGT and the CGTU and dozens of associations.

Image Analysis

"The raised fists of the proletariat"

André Kertész, born in Budapest in 1894, has been Parisian since 1925. He is one of the main collaborators of Seen, journal created by Lucien Vogel on the model of the photographic magazines of Weimar Germany and held for the first modern photographic news media. As such, it “covers” some of the demonstrations that punctuate and structure the counter-offensive to the events of February 6.

In these photographs, the demonstrators, taken from a low angle, testify to this diversity which distinguishes the demonstrations of the Popular Front from those of its adversaries, where the separation of the sexes is rigorous. Most of the women wear hats, but the younger ones are "in hair", a sign of emancipation that opponents of the Popular Front regard as the very expression of debauchery.

All raise their fists, borrowing from postures imported and acclimatized in France at the end of 1933, the beginning of 1934 by the German anti-fascist refugees. Here, the theatricality is assumed: several demonstrators look at the lens and are obviously aware of the look on them.

In one of the photos, the movement of the lips suggests that everyone is singing (or shouting) the same thing. The symbols displayed do not catch the photographer's attention. At least we can see the sides of a red flag, a piece of a banner and a portion of a banner (frequent in French processions). Or a Phrygian beanie and a red star, which refer to republican and class symbolism in the process of being subsumed to give shape to Popular Front culture. A spectacular badge, finally, worn by one of the women. The furtive presence of these symbols makes the identification of the manifestation uncertain.

These photographs are commonly dated 1934. However, it is highly probable that they relate to the rally organized on the morning of July 14, 1935 at the Buffalo stadium in Montrouge: the outfits are summery and the demonstrators, arranged by three and quite rigorously ordered in lines. and in columns, appear synchronized. This way of parade is extremely rare when it comes to Popular Front demonstrations, in that it is distinct from the geometric orderings desired by the extra-parliamentary right. On the other hand, it is necessary at the Buffalo stadium where the delegates take turns parading in front of their peers on a practicable which makes low-diving possible. This perspective also explains why the low stretched electric wire is noticeable in the image.

Interpretation

A new image of the event

Some photographers, including Kertész, perceive the changes then at work in the street demonstrations. However, they make a powerful contribution to generating new images by imagining to represent them in a new way and participate in the affirmation of new representations of the crowd. It is less for them to signify the number (by diving, in particular) or the message (by the banners) than to focus on individuals whose feelings and sometimes their private life are readable in the image.

If Kertész prefers women here, some dwell on the presence of children. Thus emerges the image of a quiet force marching towards a future to which the diagonals that structure the two photographs give the power of the magnet.

  • July 14th
  • Popular Front
  • demonstrations
  • photography
  • socialism

Bibliography

Philippe BURRIN, "Raised fists and outstretched arms, the contagion of symbols in the days of the Front-populaire", Twentieth century, no 11, July-September 1986, p. 5-20.

André KERTÉSZ, Sixty years of photography, Paris, Éditions du Chêne, 1972, reed. 1978.

Sandrine LACHAUMETTE, "Masses, crowd, people in the French illustrated press, 1933-1937", in Noelle GEROME, Sensitive archives, ENS de Cachan Publishing, 1995.

Danielle TARTAKOWSKY, Street demonstrations in France, 1918-1968, Paris, Publications of the Sorbonne, 1997.

COLLECTIVE, André Kertész, catalog of the traveling exhibition at the Center national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou, Paris, "Contrejour", Center national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou, 1977.

To cite this article

Danielle TARTAKOWSKY, “The Popular Front on the Move”


Video: POPULAR FRONT UNITY MARCH ERATTUPETTA. PFI PARADE