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The Villa Pérochon, a house dedicated to the art of the photography

Curiosity Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC By Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC, the 12 October 2018

My previous article tells the life and the work of the goncourisé novelist Ernest Pérochon. Today is put in the honor its family niortaise house. Meeting is given in n°25 avenue of Limoges (the current entrance is made by 64 street Paul-François Proust). The illustrious deux-sévrien lives on 1927 until he dies arisen there in 1942. Built in 1890, this bourgeois house of twenty rooms is decorated, at the time, with a small standing English park of yews, chestnut trees and a big lime tree, without forgetting the aviary of the red hens and the white peacock pigeons, the roofs with rabbits, a wooden lean-to under which the wheelbarrow is tidied up, a greenhouse where the writer installed(settled) a small table to draft his novels. At the hot hours of the summer, he also liked to sleep out of sight, the head was put on a zinc watering can. The set is put!
Three generations live there. His grandchildren, Jane and Jean Debenest, were born there. Many writers come to meet the Goncourt prize, in particular Georges Simenon, the father of the inspector Maigret there; three-four times a year, the girl of Emile Zola, godmother of Jane and her husband, Maurice Le Blond born in Niort.
During the collapse of May-June, 1940, the hospitality is offered to several refugees, then the family also welcomes Jews among whom the aunt of the journalist Pierre Lazareff, the future director of France-evening, which will be arrested by the gendarmerie in January, 1944 and accompanied up to the train of the death by Simone, the girl of the novelist. Two Germans of the Kommandantur also try - in vain - to requisition a room!
A commemorative tablet is put on the facade of its house in 1946.
During his niortaise life, Ernest Pérochon is a daily reader of the municipal library, the bridge player on Thursday afternoon sat at the table in the café of the " Brèche " together with three friends primary school teachers, fisherman of roaches to Coulon and to Garette. He buys his tobacco and the press from " La Civette ", at his friend tobacconist Guy Guilloteau, Resistance fighter and fellow prisoner of Delphin Debenest (son-in-law of the man of letters) who dies in deportation to Buchenwald. During his familiar routes, he always circulates by bicycle since a misadventure to Paris where, transported since the station by a taxi to fetch its first car, this one crushes a pedestrian. Cooled by this event, he returns in Niort without his vehicle!

At the end of 2002, the house, ideally placed close to the station and in front of the museum Bernard d'Agesci, is bequeathed to the City of Niort. Less than two years later, public readings and exhibition are proposed in the general public at the beginning of the summer. 
In 2011, the Ministry of Culture recognizes the project of setting-up of a photographic Contemporary Arts Center the artistic direction of which is confided to the association " Pour l'instant " (*). 
It opens officially its doors in April, 2013 to 64 kicks Paul-François Proust with the " Meetings of the young international photography ", keystone of the annual program of the association. The same year, for the first season, " One summer in the villa ", exposure with national brilliance, is set up with a selection of the Pole of images of Haute-Normandie.
So, the Villa Pérochon becomes one of the six centers of French photographic art and the only one in the Big West, from Bordeaux to Nantes and from La Rochelle to Limoges! Permanent place of creation and exhibition, it presents in garden level a gallery of 120 m2 distributed in 4 rooms offering linear 100 meters of hanging.
In 2015, is put back to the municipality the departmental price of the " Ribbons of the heritage " organized by the French Federation of the building, the French Mayors' Association, the Heritage foundation and the Savings bank to reward it for having rehabilitated the Villa Pérochon in Contemporary Arts Center dedicated to the photography; then, this year, this one receives from the Ministry of Culture the label " Contemporary Arts Center of national interest ", a "seal" stamping the work of "At the moment" which manages the structure, the search and the photographic experiment, the promotion of young artists and the cultural mediation. It remains the fourth establishment today to be distinguished from this gratitude, the first one in piece of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the unique in the field of the photography!

Originally, a collective of amateurs established in 1989 to welcome in residence the young artists photographers of the festival "Europe of Art of Art" organized until 1993 by the City of Niort. One year later, are put down the statuses of the association "Pour l'Instant" and thrown the first "summer European photographic Meetings". In 2007, the association is recognized of general interest and the demonstration becomes the "Meetings of the young international photography".
Besides, "At the moment" propose, just a step from the Center of Cultural Action - "Mill of the Rock" and of Port Boinot, a workshop of creation called "corner photo" to support artists' projects and develop workshops of practices for the school and every public. It is at the same time a manufacturing shop and of training in the image and in the photographic technique.

Photo credits: exhibition "I did not die, the family is fine" of Anne Leroy (Villa Pérochon, on 2018), the gallery of the garden level (Alexandre Giraud).


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