At Swann, we are pleased to exhibit two creations by fashion designer Jacques Doucet, including the opera mantle worn by the Marquise d’Aligre around 1900 and described by Marcel Proust in La Recherche on shoulders of la Marquise de Cambremer. Alongside, you can read the reproductions of letters from Proust to Jean-Louis Vaudoyer evoking with precision his method of work, another to Princess Soutzo, future wife of Paul Morand, or to a certain Mr. Swann who questioned Proust on the choice of his name in the novel. We celebrate photography with special creations by Russian artist Alexei Vassiliev for headboards and contemporary art with an astonishing painting offering the complete La Recherche, 3000 pages on a single panel, to read under the magnifying glass.
At Alexandre Vialatte, sculptures from the fantastic Bestiary of his friend Philippe Kaeppelin are permanently displayed in the rooms on the ground floor. In the neighbouring showcases are Vialatte’s personal belongings, kindly made available to the hotel by his son Pierre Vialatte: his press cards, his passport or even his glasses.
At Flaubert, we exhibit a contemporary work by the painter Hastaire, the « Portrait of Flaubert » printed on canvas and fixed on an outside wall of the hotel. As well as the reproductions of precious handwritten letters: an affectionate note addressed to his friend Théophile Gautier in 1862, with a very beautiful letter to Louise Colet dated June 1852: « I feel, however, that I must not die without having made roar somewhere a style as I hear it in my head and that could well dominate the voice of parrots and cicadas. »
At Marcel Aymé’s, you will find the shadow of Jean-Claude Sadoine’s portrait of the writer sculpted in steel not far from Alphonse’s perched cat and Virginie Andrieu’s Jument verte in paper, as well as a calligraphed quote of Valentine Herrenschmidt. The reproduction of a drawing of the farmhouse and two original tiles recall the Franche-Comté childhood of Marcel Aymé at the Tuilerie and were offered to us by Jacques Sennepin, president of the Society of Friends of Marcel Aymé.
Like any collection, that of the Hôtels Littéraires lives and is enriched with travels, auctions or the discovery of a new talented artist.