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Valere Bernard

Valere Bernard
1862-1936
The Félibres gave as successor to Pierre Dévoluy the poet and painter from Marseille, Valère Bernard. By his Roman first name he enhanced what his name was a little banal and his person rather dull. Modest to the point of timidity, loathing eloquence, he was a loner, withdrawn, a taciturn Marseillais. Because of his kindness, his calm, his conciliatory spirit, the respect which surrounded his work of artist, poet and novelist of the people of Marseilles, his « capouliérat » (presidency of Félibrige) was uneventful, especially since, during five years of war, it was occupied only with relief and charity.

I used to go to see him in his studio on the Quai de Rive Neuve, where he was still at work, he was continually looking with his inquisitive eyes for some new invention, some new rhythms, some new colors; he had imagined an organ for the street, where each key had to trigger a color, so that visual symphonies could be played. He was very close to Eugène Montfort, who had rented a studio in the same building, and who spoke as little as he did.

From 1920, I saw him not only on Quai de Rive-neuve, but on rue Adolphe Thiers, at the Académie de Marseille, of which he was a member; the last two years of his life he came there accompanied by his daughter, charming and noble Antigone, who guided him, because this painter of light had almost lost his sight. So he had turned back to poetry, writing real epics.

Thus passed away sadly enough this noble and pure poet, of an admirable conscience and disinterestedness, unknown in short, despite some local honors, to the French public and unknown to the Felibrean public itself, just punishment for modesty in our advertising age. !


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