Discovering La Tour in a book lent by a friend was like a revelation to me. I was thrilled and wanted to do something about it, but how? One day, my father looked up from reading the list of contests sponsored by my school and asked me why I wouldn't enter one. That gave me the idea of presenting a study on La Tour.
The very next day, my father had obtained Pariset's work; I already had Marcel Arland's, and a Parisian friend lent me his "Jamot".
Thus equipped, I set off with my father for Paris, to stay in a friend's apartment. The library, which was very modern and well stocked, had all that is most beautiful in art and literature to offer. So I was able to take out a brand new history book and, for the quotations, several volumes of the Pléiades publications that I loved to thumb through...
Once I had finished compiling the material for my project, I began my study of the paintings.
Mornings, I would set off with my father for the Louvre. After some difficulties at the entrance booth (there was always a crowd), I would manage to slip in between two guided tours. In the museum's Grande Galerie, exclamations, urgent shouts in all languages, rang out. Hundreds of feet pounded the floor in different rhythms, the wood made cracking noises, people called out, the tourists followed along; behind my back, people would exclaim "How beautiful!" in all languages; clothing, colors and noises lapped out at the paintings, which remained impassive. [...]
But I, all to myself, I would be trying to get my ideas together because they were taking off right and left, here to follow a clergyman, there a Hindu... Finally, I would manage to buckle down.
Once home with all my notes, I recopied them first in draft form, and then neatly on these pages. So it took me three times.
As to the illustrations, my mother and I hunted down the postcard dealers, going to Giraudon and Viollet. We would sort through their offerings hours on end. When we found the best, we would return home and do the page layout. Little by little, page by page, the study took shape.
As a result, I learned how to look at paintings closely and on my own. I learned about the problems of page layout and work scheduling. In addition, leafing through all the books and catalogues, I got a good look at a great number of works. But the most lasting impression is this study itself and, on top of that, a marvellous memory.