L’univers va danser

lombardacleger94 smallAmong the phenomenal collection of the late French lawyer Paul Lombard to be auctioned off by Artcurial in Paris October 10: Fernand Leger, “Camarades!” (Portrait of Jacques Decour), 1951. India ink on paper, 19 1/4 x 12 7/8 inches. Jacques Decour was the nom de plum of Daniel Decourdemanche, French author, German scholar, and editor of Louis Aragon’s revue Commune and of the  Resistance newspaper La pensée Libre, executed by firing squad on Mount Valérien by the German occupiers on May 30, 1942, at the age of 32. It’s not surprising that this particular work should have attracted Lombard,  unafraid of championing lost causes. Originally a gift to Decour’s sister,  Denise Decourdemanche, the inscription says, in part: “Comrades, we won’t let this happen. Today the universe is going to dance.” In a letter to his family written on the day of his execution, Decour wrote: “As I am not religious, I’ve not been dwelling on death. I think of myself a bit like a leaf which falls from the tree to turn into compost. I want to speak to the young people of France, in whom I place all my hope.” Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial. (Letter cited in “La vie à en mourir, lettres de fusillés 1941-1944,” Taillandier, 2003, and quoted in this Wikipedia article.)

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