The opening of the exhibition was overshadowed by a lorry accident at Plessis-Chenet on 31 January during the transport of the art works to Paris. A detailed statement1 gives an idea of the extent of the damages caused although, seen from today, its accuracy can be questioned. The fact was that the artist started to work immediately2 - according to family accounts day and night - to save as many artworks as possible to guarantee a successful retrospective despite the reduced number of paintings as shown in a catalogue annotated by hand3. From this catalogue it could also be concluded that three more paintings were added.
1. "Statement of the damage caused at Plessis-Chenet …", n.d. , 4 typwritten pages, LNC archives.
2. "Cher Monsieur Roché/ Voici le catalogue de mon exposition qui aura lieu le/ 4 février, hélas je dois vous dire que j’ai eu un/ terrible accidant du camion qui portait toutes mes/ beau pastels je suis navré, il y en a plusieurs/ entierement perdu d’autres retouchables, alors cher/ Monsieur Roché vous me rendez un grand service/ de me procurer une séries pastelo voici les couleurs qui me seront necessaire et un blanc de fond/ vert foncée differantes nuances brun et ocre/ profond/ violet profond de differente nuance aussi/ J espère que vous me n’oublier pas car/ peutêtre j’espère les faire de leurs desastres/ renaitrer […]" [sic] (Dear Monsieur Roché, here is the catalogue of my exhibition, which will take place on 4 February. Alas, I have to tell you that the lorry which was carrying all of my beautiful pastels had a terrible accident. I am really sad; there are several totally lost and others repairable. So dear Monsieur Roché, you would do me a big favour by supplying me with a series of "Pastelalo". Here are the colours which I need and a white ground: dark green, different shades of deep brown and ochre, also different shades of purple. I hope that you have not forgotten me. I hope perhaps to give them new birth from their disaster …) (Philippe Smit, ALS to Henri Roché written on the 4th page of the exhibition catalogue, 2 February 1948, La Maison du Pastel archives, Paris).
3. LNC archives.