Born in Paris on 22 November 1869, André Gide was a writer whose work was characterized by questions of personal morality, psychological problems, and socio-political choices. Prominent among his works were L’Immoraliste (The Immoralist) (1902), La Porte étroite (Strait Is the Gate) (1909), Les caves du Vatican (The Vatican Swindle) (1914), his first great success, La symphonie pastorale (The Pastoral Symphony) (1919), and Les Faux Monnayeurs (The Counterfeiters) (1926), his only novel, and his autobiographical works Si le grain ne meurt (If It Die...) and Journal.
In 1947, André Gide won the Nobel Prize in literature. He was the first living writer to be published in the collection of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Gide died in Paris on 19 February 1951. His relationship with Aline Mayrisch-de-Saint-Hubert began when she published two texts dedicated to the tales, or récits, of André Gide : L’Immoraliste and La Porte étroite. They saw each other in Paris and they travelled to Germany (Weimar), Greece, and Turkey. The writer stayed in Luxembourg eight times, first in Dudelange in January, April, and July 1919, and again in January 1920, then in Colpach between 1920 and 1929. It was at the Mayrisch villa in Dudelange where he began writing his novel Les Faux Monnayeurs, in Madame Mayrisch’s library, one of the most delightful laboratories for provoking thought, as he noted in his journal.
Thanks to Mayrisch, André Gide met at Colpach such German personalities as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walther Rathenau, and Professor Ernst Robert Curtius. These were historic meetings in the context of reconciliation between France and Germany.
Design and engraving by Pierre Schopfer, La Chaux (Switzerland) after a painting made in 1924 by the French artist Paul Albert Laurens (1870-1934). Two versions of this painting are kept at the Musée d’Orsay (Paris) and at the Musée Boriaz (Uzès), respectively (all rights reserved).