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le moment où il la tenait, complète, ramifiée - et cependant la tenait-il ja-
mais, à l'intérieur de soi, cette autre vie de sa vie. [170-1; He began by
hastily applying, at the centre, some light little splashes of mauve around
which were to harmonize the general pattern of the planes and the playing
luminosities, the complex skein of colours, the shadows and the light; all
of this surging through him, moreover, in one brief second of illumination.
He trembled lest there be wrested from him the tiniest detail of the enthral-
ling dream. It was an injustice for man - had he had the time to reflect on
it - that his thought cannot take flesh at the moment when he has it, so
complete, so ramified; and yet, did he ever truly have it, in his own inte-
rior self, that other life of his life? (185-6)]
Here, unlike the earlier scene with the mountain before him, it is not the
disparate traits of the mountain but the uniform ones of painting itself
('de légères petites touches de couleur') that dominate, harmonize
('s'harmoniser'), and thus totalize the scene ('complète, ramifiée') in a
way not possible through direct observation and transcription. In ef-
fect, he paints not the outside mountain, but its inner, other incarnation
('à l'intérieur de soi, cette autre vie de sa vie'), characterized as a dream
('songe passionnant').
René Richard, for whom also, as Hugues de Jouvancourt concludes,
'l'œuvre est une totale construction de l'esprit, basée sur le souvenir' (xv;
the work is a total construction of the mind, based on memory), seeks a
similar effect in a drawing, coloured in with felt-tip pens, not included in
the dossier for the novel, but suggestively titled La montagne de mes rêves ,
circa 1975 (plate 12). The scope of the composition is even more vast than
that of his other painting of the same period, La montagne secrète , yet he
achieves a greater harmony through the unified strokes and colouration,
which lend the drawing an unreal or 'expressionist' impact. 27 Yet, to label
his style 'expressionist' might itself be misleading, as Robert Bernier sug-
gests in his eloquent appraisal of Richard's manner, which serves as a
fitting conclusion to our exploration of his work: 'Sa démarche person-
nelle et solitaire n'a nul besoin de comparaison ou de justification. Elle
est unique et ne s'insère dans la foulée ni de l'avant-garde ni d'une
nostalgie romantique. René Richard développe son propre langage pic-
tural, sa peinture s'affirme dans un esthétisme personnel ... les œuvres
nous mettent en présence d'une vie entière, elles sont le témoignage
d'un individu en osmose avec tout son environnement … Le paysage
s'inscrit sur le support de larges coups que seule la passion peut in-
duire.' ( Un siècle , 194-5; His personal, solitary approach has no need for
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