The poet and the photographer of Beaumont-la-Ferrière
Inaugurated on the occasion of the 2017 edition of the ONF’ (French National Forestry Office) Nevers fall sale, Groupe Charlois’ first exhibition in La Grange presents an exceptional collection of vintage silver prints from vicomte Raoul d’Anchald and the complete collection of 60 old postcards from the series La Forêt en Nivernais.
The collection of postcards is the fruit of the collaboration between the folk poet, Achille Millien, and the photographer, Raoul d’Anchald, both from Beaumont-la-Ferrière, a small village located in the Bertranges forest near Murlin, historic birthplace of Charlois house. Most of those postcards were printed from photographs taken by Raoul d’Anchald and are embellished with Achille Millien’s poems who devoted most of them to the activities of workers in the forest. About wood splitters, the poet writes, for instance : " Le bois sous le contre éclate. / Voici pour nos toits la latte, / Pour nos ceps les échalas / Et le merrain pour la Tonne / Dont le vin doux, à l’automne, / Rend la verve aux esprits las. "
The project of the poet and the photographer of Beaumont-la-Ferrière is now an essential testimony of the activities in the Bertranges forest at the turn of the 20th century, when the great-grandfather of Sylvain Charlois, Antoine Charlois, split the stave in the Bertranges with his two eldest sons Jean-Etienne and Leonard. On one of the photographs, whose staging is identical to the postcard "Spring VII" entitled "The lodge of wood splitters ", we can clearly see the piles of staves next to the splitters gathered in front of their lodge. This exceptional collection thus makes it possible to (re) discover the know-how of the woodworkers, especially those of the charcoal burners for the dressing and burning of the millstones, and the living conditions of the men who lived together in lodges that can accommodate from 2 to 8 people.