Disparition de Monique Cras, fille de l'amiral et grand compositeur breton Jean Cras
It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the passing of Monique Cras, last surviving child of the Breton impressionist, Vice Admiral Jean Cras.
Mlle Cras died peacefully the evening of 17 December 2007 at the age of 96 in the family's Paris apartment. She is survived by her nieces, Mireille Zanuttini-Tansman and Marianne Martinozzi-Tansman, daughters of pianist Colette Cras and composer Alexandre Tansman. The musical community, and especially those working in post-Romanticism, Impressionism and European Ethnomusicology, will remain grateful to Monique Cras for having transcribed -- in her eighties, and with eyesight failing -- over a thousand of her parents' letters, and for having provided access to these and to many important musical and military archives that form the groundwork for research into her father's legacy.
Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Monique will remember her sprightly personality, her kindness, enthusiasm, generosity and supportiveness to all who stopped by to learn about her father and his universe.
Monique was educated at the Sacred Heart Schools, and following the family tradition, studied the piano and a second instrument. She became a fine cellist as a pupil of Louis Fournier at the Ecole normale de musique, but her true passion was painting.
A Premier Prix de l'Académie des Beaux-Arts, Monique became a protégée of the celebrated Jean-Paul Laurens. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Ministry of Culture delegated her to paint the peoples of France's Second Colonial Empire, notably in the Saharan and Sub-Saharan provinces. Until the early 1990s, she worked in restoration and preservation for many museums, both private and public. Her paintings hang in many galleries across Europe and in private collections, ranging in style from the early Fauvist to the Naturalist schools inherent to post-Impressionism.
Monique Cras will be buried alongside her parents in Brest this Friday, December 21st, where she was born. A memorial Mass will be held at St-François-Xavier Church in Paris, 7th arrondissement on January 9th, 2008.
Paul-André Bempêchat, Boston (USA)