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Juliette Drouet - Victor Hugo

Juliette Drouet,  until March 4, 2007 at the House of Victor Hugo. 6, place of the Vosges. 75004 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 72 71 52.

Engravings, tables, letters, memories… it is a small jewel of delicacy and sensitivity which the House of Victor Hugo proposes to us to illustrate the passion of the two lovers.
They were in love during one half-century, him, the public figure, genius of all arts, deputy, her, actress without much talent, pretty and fresh like an apple. It had seen it, on February 2, 1833, in a third role of Lucrèce Borgia to the Theatre of the Saint Martin's day Door, had re-examined it a few weeks later. One night of love had been enough so that is born a passion which lasted until their death, at two years from interval. Three fairies are leaning on this first exhibition devoted to Juliette Drouet, the most famous “mistress” of the world of arts and letters: Gerard Pouchain, who knows perfectly Juliette Drouet, Danièle Molinari, director of the House of Victor Hugo, and Jerome Godeau, “romantic police chief flying”, as it is defined himself, who made a success of a work of goldsmith in his setting in scene, putting in correspondence engravings of time, letters - Juliette wrote some more than 20 000 in her “Totor” - personal memories, tables, creating by bulk-headings, curtains of pearls, plays of lighting, an intimacy never commonplace, with the image of their relation. Sometimes showing the Juliette, woman of the shade, which agreed to live hidden in the Marsh, not to leave nor to even read its mail without the downstream of his/her tyrannical lover, sometimes Juliette, woman of light, at the time of their ritual holidays in Normandy, in Spain or on the edges of the Rhine.
“If my name is alive, your name will live”, had written one day Victor Hugo, visionary to him. It survived, indeed, only through the man who it passionately liked at the point to enter in love like one enters in religion. The portrait of “Holy Thérèse” of the baron Gerard, all in extase extreme and sensual, exposed in the second room, is not a sacrilege, but an audacity of a great accuracy. Juliette Drouet closed herself in the world not to live that in distressed waiting of the only being which counted for it, with her daughter, the poor Louise, whom it had had with the Pradier sculptor and who died phthisical in 20 years. A mourning similar to the pain which Hugo felt when it lost his Léopoldine and which still brought them closer.
Refined gouaches which show it in its minor parts of “third in love”, the violine dress of taffeta and gold which it wore on scene the day when it live it for the first time, a delicious lithography of Alphonse-Leon Christmas where it appears in all its grace, at the same time voluptuous and modest, of the watercolours of Alphonse Devéria, which brush the middle-class and fashionable company of the XIX E century, bronzes of Pradier, of the sights of Étretat by Isabey, other watercolours of Jongkind, and, of course, washings with brown ink, of Victor Hugo, of these ghostly floating cities, “as their love which floated above the world and his contingencies”, Jerome Godeau notices,… each selected object reflects the disturbed time which they crossed together, days of 1848, the difficult years which followed until the fall of the Second Empire, the exile in Jersey, then in Guernesey to have dared to write “Napoleon the small one”. There too, it followed it, placed in a house close to his. With considering and with known of Adele, the legitimate wife, who hardly hid her connection with Sainte-Beuve and that Hugo also liked, with her manner, that a being out of the commun run, living a life except standard in the most normative company that the history knew.
Two portraits of Juliette, one at 25 years, signed Champmartin, fresh, sensual, generous, available, the other of Bastien-Lepage, showing a pretty old woman rams worthy, worn, and, paradoxically, happy, mark the beginning and the end of the exhibition and a also insane love, also except standard which Romanticism that it illustrates.

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