As the grip of the German Occupation tightened on Paris in the summer of 1940, Agnes Humbert, a respected art historian, took a leap of blind faith and reckless courage. With a handful of her distinguished colleagues at the Musee de l'Homme in Paris, she helped to form one of the first organised groups of the French Resistance. The unlikely but highly effective Musee de l'Homme network was also to earn a tragic place in history. In 1941 many of its members, including its charismatic leader Boris Vilde and Agnes herself, were betrayed to the Gestapo and imprisoned. Seven of the men were condemned to death and executed by firing squad. The women were deported to Germany as slave workers. These are the events described with electrifying immediacy by Agnes Humbert in her secret journal, first published in France in 1946 and never before translated into English.With self-deprecating humour and acerbic intelligence, she offers a uniquely personal and candid perspective on this dark and dramatic period, while the striking images that draw her artist's eye add a graphic, cinematic intensity to her diary entries. Refusing even in the grimmest days to surrender her compassion, humanity or talent for spotting the absurd, she writes with a deft touch and sardonic wit that belie the palpable depth of her conviction and outrage. Written with all the immediacy of events just lived, "Resistance" (first published as Notre guerre in Paris in 1946) stands today as a testament to one woman's indomitable spirit, and as an eloquent tribute to the sacrifice and courage of her comrades who did not survive.About the Author:
Agnes Humbert was born in 1896 in Dieppe, and married the artist Georges Sabbagh in 1916. They had two sons. Agnes continued her studies in art history, but they were divorced in 1934. In 1936 she published an influential book Louis David: peintre et conventionnel, which made her reputation as an art historian. The following year she was recruited to the staff of the newly created Musee National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, a sister institution to the Musee de l'Homme. After the war she refused on principle to return to the post from which she had been sacked, but continued to write books on art until her death in 1963. Barbara Mellor is a translator specialising in the fine and decorative arts, art history, architectural history, fashion and design. Her most recent projects include The House of Dior and The Society Portrait (both Thames & Hudson), and a series of exhibition catalogues for individual contemporary artists. She now divides her time between the Scottish Borders and the Aveyron.
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