XVI: Marriage at 64


In l957, at age 64, Lahner married Jeanne Cazenave, a woman some twenty years younger than he with whom he had formed a sympathetic attachment.[108] Friends encouraged this union -- hinting that Madame Cazenave would be there to care for the painter in his dotage -- but it was Lahner who remained in robust health while his wife was chronically ill.[109] From all accounts, the marriage got off to a rocky start as Lahner not surprisingly manifested a sharp streak of territoriality with regard to his work habits. Gradually, however, the two formed a durable bond interrupted only occasionally by domestic friction.

Realizing that his spartan studio of the last twenty-five years on the rue des Périchaux was unsuitable (and uncomfortable) for married life, Lahner took an apartment across town at 7, rue Alfred-Stevens, near the Place Pigalle.[110] His new home had the advantage of two bedrooms and a separate kitchen, but Lahner seems to have retained his old habits, spreading his hundreds of books, bibelots , and canvases throughout the main salon and covering nearly every surface but for the dining table.[111] Friends who visited him there were always treated to a spontaneous exhibition of old and recent paintings. Lahner made no effort to talk up his work or make a sale, while pouring drinks for everyone.[112] When someone took a liking to a painting, Lahner's reaction was one of genuine pleasure.


(108) Bouret 115.

(109) This is confirmed by Odette Herissé, Georgette Trichet, and Pierre Treuttel.

(110) Bouret 115.

(11) I am grateful to Dr. Phitoussi for his description of Lahner's habits and surroundings in the apartment of the rue Alfred-Stevens.

(112) Ibid.