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Albert and Prospérie

- Albert, are you here?

Périe enters the greenhouse where I sat for a few moments. I like this place where the most subtle scents, the softest colors, the purest silence mingle.

- Come in !

I smile at her. We have been married for almost 7 years and every moment of our life fills me with such a deep happiness that I have the impression of living only first times ...

She stands in front of me, in her white and black Polish dress, on a purple pleated skirt. An openwork hat frames her face with delicate and fragile lines. She returns to me a shy smile whilst behind her, the trees and bushes of the garden shudder in the hot wind of summer.

Paul Cézanne. Émile Zola. 1862-1864. Musée Granet
Albert Bartholomé. Dans la serre. Vers 1881, © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

- What do you think of my dress?

- What do I think of your dress, my heart? You wear it with infinite grace! This dress does not dress you, it caresses you ...

Périe blushes. she takes back:

- Do you love me as on the first day?

- I love you much more than on the first day, Darling

- And when I'll be dead, you ...

I get up, I approach her, I put my hand on her lips, very gently.

- Who tells you that you will leave this world before I do, Madame Bartholomé?

Édouard Manet. Emile Zola. 1868.© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Robe de Prospérie Fleury. Musée D'Orsay

- I know it, I feel it, that's all ...

Her mouth makes an adorable pout. I do not know what to say, then, I kiss her passionately, my hands surround her size, her perfume ignites me. I would like to stop the time.

Albert Bartholomé. Étude pour "femme dans la serre". Musée d'Orsay
Albert Bartholomé. Étude pour "femme dans la serre". Musée d'Orsay

Pregnant, Périe died of tuberculosis in 1887. Albert Bartholomé was inconsolable. He abandonned painting and pastel. His intimate friend, Edgar Degas will convince him to turn to sculpture where Bartholomé will show immense talent. He will notably sculpt the funerary monument raised in memory of his wife, in Crépy en Valois.

Albert Bartholomé. Monument funéraire de Périe (détail). Crépy-en-Valois
Albert Bartholomé. Monument funéraire de Périe (détail). Crépy-en-Valois

In his conferences of art history, Fabrice Roy combines the past in the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century ...


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