Did we ever spend the night in Auberge Prégouttes in Rupt sur Moselle? After some years I start doubting.
Some years ago, on our way to Italy, we tried to find back the Auberge Prégouttes in Rupt sur Moselle, but there were just left a ruin. Asking in the village pub we discovered some history. The hotel had belonged to an old lady for forty years; she sold it including the complete interior, furniture, to two ambitious men, Bernard and Emmanuel. But they couldn’t keep running the hotel. After one year they were bankrupt. After this all was removed from the interior and the building became a ruin.
Exactly in that year we found Desgranges, on room 28 on the first floor, now an open exterior place with wild blackberry bushes. I believe there have been plans for apartments and even a start of building was visible, but the work seems to have fallen still.
But maybe, one day on the space of room 28 someone again starts living, but keeps feeling all the time that something is missing, there beside the window with the view on the chickens, something unspeakable and unknown.And Desgranges?
All the time my intention was to solve the riddle definitively. I don’t know what makes me slow. Is this a way of keeping the imagination? And always to have an extra reason to go to Paris? I don’t like solved riddles.
And you? You are curious to see the painting. But does it exist? Does it contain this exceptional beauty in your mind after the story?
Imagine, I showed it to you and you say: is that all? I understand this hotel owner; he splits one’s sides. No I can’t do this to you and also not to myself, I could never tell you to believe in something.
In Coutances, around two years ago, we could find a Desgranges painter, Gérard Desgranges. People from the museum gave me an address in Evreux, but we doubted it, seeing a small catalogue of his work, no visual connection with our painting and also in the biography no mention of Galerie Ecalle. This cannot be our painter.
However not a long time ago we became friends with Eric and Frauke Veth, in Zuidwolde in Drente. Eric has been restorer of paintings and has built up a large collection of paintings, bought at auctions, finally to sell them. He is really an expert and also a very good researcher. It’s always a joy to see the thematic exhibitions in the exhibition room-barn on their farmhouse. That’s how we met them and we shared of course the Desgranges story, the Galerie Ecalle etcetera.
Not long after, he he sent me an amazing e-mail with the possible answer to the question: who is Desgranges?
He discovered – Félix Desgranges, born in Paris 12 August 1860, died 24 January 1942 in Saint Bresson, 81 years old.
Galerie Ecalle, mai 1930, quarante sept œuvres exposées, présentation du catalogue par André Foulon de Vaulx.
In the notes more information, especially the most important one: 19 May 1930 exhibition at Galerie Ecalle, 3 Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Félix Desgranges. It touches me, looking at the painting, feeling a human being with this sensual painters-touch.
So what now? To find the catalogue of this exhibition. Let’s talk to Eric, hopefully he can help me.
On livres-rares.com I do find the writer but not this work. Maybe in the Bibliorthèque de France because of the ‘Dépot légal’. Each publication had to be send to the BN by law.
But finally this story in the context of the Piano Etudes: the value of an object, the part of imagination, the visual translation of music, voyages to find your soul. The ritual aspects of researching. The meaning of a hotel room, the passage, the travellers.
For me there are so many connections, it is a totally stretched out in Piano Etudes.
Part of this text has been previously published in: NABEELDEN, album van niet gemaakte foto’s (AFTER-IMAGES, album of not-made pictures, composed by Rein Jelle Terpstra, with stories from some photographers about a once not-made picture and published by Uitgeverij De Balie in 2002.
The project NABEELDEN was put on audio by the authors, a few years ago and became a permanent installation in the collection of the Dutch Photo museum in Rotterdam.
That means that the only picture in their collection is a not-made one. And not many people can say that. I have to reconsider my cv on the chapter museal collections!