Rues & visages de Berlin
Author: Jean Giraudoux (1882 - 1944)
Artist: Chas Laborde (1886 - 1941)
Rues & visages de Berlin was published in Paris by Éditions de la Roseraie as a silver-coloured portfolio with loose-leaf prints and a text quire. There were two separate series of 18 etchings: one set in black-and-white and one in colour. The text itself also includes many amusing drawings that brighten up the pages and give Giraudoux's atmospheric story extra power.
Chas Laborde also illustrated books by other popular writers such as Jacques de Lacretelle, Anatole France, Willy and Colette, Francis Carco and Guy de Maupassant. But he was also a writer himself, well known for his La porte ouverte (75 cartoons with accompanying aphorisms) and the witty Théodore et le petit chinois (1943), published posthumously by his nephew Guy Laborde. Another work to appear after his death was École de patience: la guerre vue par Chas Laborde (1951), in which his experiences from World War I are represented in words and images. He was closely involved in battles and became the victim of a poison attack as an infantryman. This fate makes believable what Laborde's friend Pierre Mac Orlan claimed in his preface to École de patience. He described Chas Laborde as 'un sentimental d'une grande délicatesse et d'une pudicité encore plus grande' (a sensitive and extremely subtle man, of even greater timidity). He had also experienced the trenches of 1914-1918 from extremely close by. He died right after seeing a German battalion march past on the Place de l'Étoile in 1941, according to Mac Orlan from outright grief. Laborde had observed the Germans in their own capital ten years before, but he apparently could not bear the sight of seeing them in his own city as military conquerors.