The Académie de la Grande Chaumière, cafés like Le Dôme, La Rotonde, and La Coupole, artists’ studios where nude models used to pose, Boulevard Edgar Quinet and jazz clubs: this was the heart of Montparnasse where Émile Savory began his painting career, started as photographer, and frequented his sculptors, painters, poets and musicians friends. It was there that this talented jack-of-all-trades who “had many strings to his bow ” lived his entire life.
His work revived “the hot hours of Montparnasse”, this artistic, friendly hotspot rooted in the smoky atmosphere of the cafés of the Vavin crossroads. There, one could see Alberto Giacometti, Victor Brauner and Antoine Prinner who Savitry photographed in the intimacy of their studios; Samuel Granowski, captured at the bar of La Rotonde; Pablo Neruda, returning from Spain after the French victory, here he was photographed at La Coupole with Paul Grimault and some Latin-American friends, mourning the Spanish Republic which he had always supported.
It was after his return from the Pacific Islands (where he had fled, frightened from a success too quickly acquired during his first painting exhibition at Galerie Zborowski in 1929) that he met Django Reinhardt at the port of Toulon. He offered room and board to the still unknown gypsy guitarist and introduced him to the music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. The Reinhardt family soon joined Savitry in Paris and took refuge from time to time in the photographer’s beautiful apartment on Boulevard Edgar Quinet, made evident in a few touching photographs.