A few months later, like as a real detective, I was in the eight arrondissement of Paris, to look for the Galerie Ecalle, hoping to find the antecedents of this painter Desgranges.
On the corner of Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the Rue Royale, a chic neighbourhood, with a plenty of banks, fashion shops and new buildings, I found no trace of any gallery at number three. No one could remember a gallery being there.
Also to visit the mentioned Rue du Boccador would be logical, but it could not help me. This small street lies between Avenue Marceau and Avenue Montaigne, from Rond Point des Champs Elyssées to Place de l’Alma, close by the bridge where Princesse Diana died and where people still put flowers and small notes.
I decided to postpone this tour and first go to the mairie of the eight arrondissement. Unfortunately however they told me the historical archives of the arrondissements were centralized somewhere in Paris. A helpful girl, who liked my story, directed me to the nearby library. An elderly woman librarian showed me the Dictionaire des Peintres Français, in which I found four different Desgranges and I started reading. The first one, a miniaturist from XVII century could not be him anyway. One of the other three should be my painter Desgranges.
The first one, Félix-Léopold Desgranges, was a landscape painter. He worked in he twentieth century and exhibited his work in the Salon des Tuilleries with landscapes from Toulon. He could be my Desgranges. The other one, Gérard-Alain-Guillaume Desgranges, born in Coutances in Normandy, was painter and sculptor, a participant outside the competition of the Salon des Artistes Français in 1936, he was also a pupil of his father: Guillaume-Jacques-François Desgranges, was born in Avranches, on 10th February 1886. He had won a gold medal at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1925. His work is collected and conserved in different musea in Nantes, Courtances and Avranches.
My investigation till now kept open a lot of questions. Who was Madame Prinet from Rue Boccador, who visited the Desgranges exhibition in Galerie Ecalle and decided to buy this work? And Galerie Ecalle, what happened with this gallery? Was there a catalogue of this Desgranges exhibition? And the museums in Nantes, Coutances and Avranches: which works of Desgranges do they have in their collections? In which way had the painting possessed by Madame Prinet landed in a hotel in the Vosges? Where was it hung, in which houses, looked by whose eyes? Questions all calling for an answer. Slowly the painter and the origin of this work came closer.