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Cécile Cavaillé-Coll

CAVAILLE-COLL Cécile( 1854-1944 )


Cécile Cavaillé-Coll was the eldest in the family and stayed by her father's side all her life to bring up her brothers and take her mother's place after her death in 1868. Like all well-brought up young ladies Cécile took up watercolours as her mother, Adèle Blanc. had done. We know that, as a child, she was close to the friends of the family who were all well-known artists and painters: Dominique Ingres, Ary Scheffer, Eugène Isabey, Henri Place the banker and so on She remembered the best moments in the house at n°94 rue de Vaugirard which adjoined an old "Salle de Concerts Spirituels" which served as a workshop and showroom for instruments:

"…my father worked in a big attic room on the top floor. My mother kept her easel there for she sometimes picked up her charcoals to sketch her children's faces. That is how I came to be present, alas unaware of what I was witnessing, at discussions which soared beyond the limits of the stars: Léon Foucault and my father pursuing the muse that was to deliver the secret of the speed of light; Lissajous, the learned physicist. - I can see César FRANCK, whiskers awry, face set, listening with all his concentration to the chord he is holding with his sinewy fingers, on the keyboard; LEFEBURE-WELY, svelte, elegant, charming…a little like a street urchin; LEMMENS, majestic, imposing, dominating."

When the familly left the Manufacture avenue du Maine in 1893 because of the compulsory sale of the property, Cécile and her aged father, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, moved to No 21 rue du Vieux-Colombier. They lived in a few square metres on the fourth floor which they sublet from Madame la Générale Morand. They had "an anteroom, one room that served as a living room, another beside it with a window on to the courtyard, and, finally, a kitchen". Cécile had the use of a studio or art school belonging to the city of Paris where she taught a few pupils.

In a hand-written will written in a shaky hand on October 6 1897, the " Patron " Aristide Cavaillé-Coll appointed his daughter, Cécile "Sole legatee" and "expresses the wish that she receive a pension to thank her for the devoted and assiduous care that she has never ceased to take of him".

In 1929, with the aid of her brother Emmanuel Cécile published a work entitled: "Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, ses origines, sa vie, ses œuvres".

Cécile Cavaillé-Coll retired to Héry (Yonne) to a house bought for her old age and died at the age of 90 on January 17, 1944. She is buried near her father in the tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery
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