For this exhibition, the Comptoir Général wanted to honor the charm and mysteries of fly fishing. Among the different types of fishing, fly fishing is by far the most elegant and at the same time the most contemplative, which does not prevent it, in expert hands, from being frighteningly effective. It is practiced with beautiful equipment, such as the split bamboo canes, true objects of art. And then there is the beauty of the fish and the places where they are found. The love relationship between the fly fisherman and nature, whose observation is essential.
While it is best known to the general public for its hordes of bison, grizzlies, black bears, mountain lions, herds of deer, wolves, and multitudes of birds, Yellowstone and its sublime landscapes are home to thousands of miles of salmonid rivers unlike any other in the world.
Entomologist, collector and photographer, it is mainly as a salmon fly tyer that Paul Schmookler is presented in this exhibition.
His major work, Art of Angling Journal (2001-2006), presents the work of the greatest international fly tyers, as well as the best manufacturers of split bamboo fly rods and exceptional reels. He also presents the best painters or sculptors of salmonids through his sublime photo-compositions raising the technical photo to the level of a work of art.
Virtually unknown in France, the Czech photographer Sláva Štochl is surely the greatest photographer (6X6 Rolleiflex and Leica) of nature and especially of fishing and fish between 1930 and 1960. Between his early sports journalism and wild animal photography, Sláva Štochl devoted himself to fishing photography.
The photogravures presented here are taken from his book Fishing in Rivers and Ponds – ed. Gründ, 1970, in which he captures moments of fishing with a didactic and poetic look.
The collection material
Fishing tackle, when it is old, often goes beyond the simple utilitarian framework to enter the category of collector’s items. Made with noble materials such as bamboo for rods, copper or bronze for reels, or exotic bird feathers for salmon flies, this equipment has been attracting increasing interest in recent years, and the prices of some pieces can reach several thousand euros at auctions. For the fisherman collector, the acquisition and use of these rare objects are part of a certain taste for pomp and elegance during fishing parties.
The pieces presented are from one of the most important fishing collections in the world, built up by Pierre Affre, expert and eminent figure of international fishing.
In addition to the perfection of their forms and the beauty of their dresses, the trout’s main attraction for the fisherman is the vivacity of their movements, and the discretion of their feeding method, the famous gobble, whose wet sound reminds that of a kiss.
To seduce them and better catch them, fishermen must compete with skill and assiduity. They offer them artificial flies, assemblies of feathers and colored threads artistically wrapped around a hook, which are real little jewels but do not resemble, or very far from, the natural insects on which they feed.