Professor recalls surprising find in Louvre

of The News-Sentinel

Professor Carl Nadeau of the University of Saint Francis doesn't remember the exact year, but he's sure it was in the early 1970s. While in Europe working on an advanced degree, he toured Paris and was wandering the more than eight miles of galleries in the famous Louvre when he saw it.

"I had no idea who did it, or how it got there," he said. "It was quite a surprise."

As it might have been. For there, hanging on a wall in the museum, was an artist's rendering of a building Nadeau knew well -- the Allen County Courthouse.

The oil painting was about 3 feet by 4 feet, he said, and the unknown artist depicted the building as though it were cut in half so the interior was visible. A small sign identified the building as the courthouse, and said it was "the best example of neo-eclectic art in North America," Nadeau said.

His interest piqued by the upcoming rededication of the building, Nadeau wrote the Louvre earlier this year, seeking information about the painting. His goal was to have the museum lend it to the county so it could be displayed in the courthouse.

Unfortunately, Nadeau, who has taught French, English composition and world literature at Saint Francis, never heard from the Louvre, and the museum did not respond to e-mails inquiring about the painting. But the professor, now in his 39th year at the university, won't forget his experience.

"It was something you'd never expect," he said. "To see that in the Louvre."

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