Fernand Chalandre, born in Nevers in 1879, is known for his numerous engravings which offer a rich panorama of the most emblematic or secret districts and monuments of the Nivernais capital. The quality of his prints, but also of his drawings, allows us to guess what his career would have been if his life had not been so short and tormented, and if his bruised body had allowed him to go beyond the immediate surroundings of Nevers. A short life ended at only 46 years of age, and a life shattered by a terrible illness which deprived him of his movements very early on, with a world war in the background where many of his friends disappeared. One light, however, is a source of hope, emotion and inspiration. Her name is Élise, a beautiful and elegant dressmaker: she will be his model, his muse. But Chalandre senses how impossible their love is, and with a heavy heart will put an end to this relationship the moment the young woman mentions marriage.

The Musée de la Loire holds some sixty works by the artist, including several representations of Élise, who was identified during recent research at the same time as their tragic story was taking shape. Beyond an outstanding artist, the exhibition evokes the life of a man, as dark as the deepest blacks of his woodcuts.
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