During the summer of 2000, my girlfriend A. and I travelled to Italy.
We spent the night in a small hotel close to the source of the Moselle, not far from the French-Swiss border. We could just hear some birds. and of course a dog you hear everywhere in the countryside, to shake you up half-dead at the most unexpected moments. Mostly they are behind a gate, but that’s also rather close by. Our room was at the back of the hotel, on the eastside, even more birds and chickens. The hotel, Auberge Prégouttes, has something to do with the first raindrops before a shower breaks through. And it was just like that: we were just in bed when heavy rain waves lashed on the windows. We fell asleep at the beginning of a holiday.
On the road back home three weeks later we decided to choose the same hotel, asked for and got the same room, chambre vingt-huit, sans problème.
Exhausted from travelling we took a nap. A. was just asleep, I was looking around and discovered in front of the bed, between the case and a chair, half hidden in the shadow, a small painting of around forty at fifty centimetres. It was asking my attention more and more.
I couldn’t remember having seen it during the voyage out, probably too much concerned with my own worries, but now, although still a bit sleepy and hardly able to keep my eyes open, it touched me deeply. Everything seemed to move to the background, disappearing sounds and memories kept closing up.
In a shabby frame I saw an almost monochromatic painted landscape: a view of a small river at the other side a village stretching out uphill. It was if the landscape unfolded itself and was coming out of the shadow or if a special power was growing in the combination of room, view and painting: an unforced calm, as on the brink of sleeping and waking up. The magically created landscape looked empty: just a river and some houses without windows at the other side. At the same time a breath was blowing through this imagination, in soft tones, blue, gray and green, sometimes with a touch purple or white, so to see on the surface of the river.
When A. woke up I asked her to look at the painting. I told her my intention to buy it. She looked surprised and started to laugh at me because of my self-confidence.
She looked again to the painting, better and slowly a certain agreement was made, as if it had to persuade her first.
Also I started looking more intensely, took it from the wall to see it in daylight, to see it win in transparency and power.
The work was not signed, but at the back glued in the middle of the canvas was a lable on which was printed: Galerie Ecalle 3 Faubourg St-Honoré (angle de la Rue Royale). hand written after EXPOSITION: Desgranges. And below: Nº 50 and below that, also handwritten: Madame Prinet 5 Rue du Boccador 8e,, probably the buyer. Looking at the painting, frame, paper, print work of the sticker and the handwriting, I guessed it to be around sixty years old.