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Franck, Violin Sonata: Jeanne Rongier

By Matthew Wachtman

Painting of César Franck

Cesar Franck at the OrganPainting: Jeanne Rongier (1852-1934)[1]; Photo: Braun & Co, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

About Jeanne Rongier

Born in Mâcon, Jeanne Rongier was a renowned French painter. In 1885, Rongier painted a portrait of César Franck at the organ. One year later, Franck dedicated and signed this copy of his Violin Sonata as a gift to Rongier. This painting is well-known to many in the music community, especially organists. It portrays Franck at the organ console of St. Clotilde Basilia, where he served as organist. With one hand on the keyboard and the other pulling out a stop, it also highlights his physical features, including his unusually large hands. This characteristic depicted in the image coincides with the numerous and nearly impossible intervals he wrote for organ and piano.