<= Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)


Who, Where,Why?


10 June 1873

Arthur Rimbaud, wounded  by his close îiend Paul Verlaine,

lying in bed at Mrs (Anne) Pincemaille's flat. Painted by Jef Rosmans


A good idea of what happened between these days was explained by Bernard Bousmanne in his book:

Reviens, reviens, cher ami - Rimbaud - Verlaine, l'affaire de Bruxelles -

avec la collaboration de la bibliothèque royale de Belgique (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2006)


On the other side a lot of various contradictorious versions has been made as we found  in the following publication.

So it could be just a painting made at a good moment: the painting appeared in 1947 (found by Matarasso in a bookshop Paris)

 in advance of the  commemoration of his birthday  (1854) in 1954

The Standaard, "Cultuur en Media", p. 29 wednesday 2004   

See also the References


Who was Mrs (Anne) Pincemaille?

The Tobacconist's shopassistant? (F: vendeuse, Nl: winkelbediende), rue des Bouchers.

Two possible Pincemaille were found:

 1. Was it Anne Pincemaille- De Keyser? (ref 1, ref8)

Anne Julienne De Keyser  (1831 Kessello, B - 1908, Brussels ) x 1858  in  Ostend Jean Henri Pincemaille (1816, Wortegem - 1885 Ostend), lieutenant of the customs office in Ostend.  But she was not a widow in 1873  (as supposed  Matassaro) : her husband died begin 1885  in Ostend. Her daughther  Evelina Alicia (Evelyne)  Pincemaille born 3 Feb 1863 in Menin had a natural child Leo Ghislain mid 1885 in Ostend. And it was only end 1885 that she moved officially to Brussels., Boulevard de la Senne, 51. 

We have to wait till  13 august 1891 when  Anne De Keyser was officially known as a tabacco shop keeper in the rue des Bouchers 14, but she moved yet on the 23 may 1892 to the Boulevard du Hainaut  43 (where she died in 1908). Her daughter married the next year in 1893 in Brussels Edmond Dockerwolke who recognised her son Leo Ghislain. Evelyne was  a cantatrice in the Theatre "la Monnaie" in Brussels.

but there was a link with a poet: the grandson of Anne De Keyser knows that his family conserved a nice walking cane (Fr canne, NL: wandelstok) of another poet Georges Rodenbach Tournai 1855- Paris, 1898) ,

 2. Or  was it Anne-Pincemaille- Lorson?(ref2, , ref8)

Anne Lorson x 1876 Pierre-Joseph Pincemaille, living before her marriage at the "Grande Place, 36". was a that time (population register) tobacconist's shopassistant in the "rue des bouchers" in one of the 2 tobacco shops (nr 1 or  22). In these days it was custom to rent clandestine a room  to people which had difficuties to pay their hotel.

She get a son Arthur Félix Jean Pincemaille born 4 Jan 1876, Brussels. Question stays open if he was named as a memory to Arthur Rimbaud or really a natural son. of Rimbaud .Despite that Arthur Rimbaud stayed in  February , March and April 1875 in Stuttgart it has been suggested that there was some evidence that  he contacted her to look for a printer, that she should have met him in Stuttgart and that Arthur could be his natural son. The granddaughther of Anne Lorson remembers that when her parents had arguments, the exclamations in dutch :  "en de Rimbaud?"  (And the Rimbaud?).

3. Because Anne Lorson was not yet married in 1873 so she was normally not named Anne Pincemaille at that time. So  it could also have been Pharailde Pincemaille :  mother of her future husband but also the sister of  Jean Henri Pincemaille the husband of   Anne  De Keyzer. The unmarried Pharailde  gived in 1854 birth to her son in the "rue Vander Elst" not far away from the "rue des bouchers". Maybe she lived yet in 1873 in the same area, but we are  not aware of the year she have pasted away.

Conclusion: a lot of possible links to Rimbaud, but no real facts.

But interesting is that these three possible womans have strong family links.


Where happened the Shooting Accident.

 1. Was it in the hotel "A la ville de Courtrai", "Bouwerststr, 1" now a paper shop.

But nobody of the personel had heard a shot the evening of the 10 June 1873. They heard from it when Rimbaud came the following morning out of his room. 

 2. Or was it in " a house of ill-repute" as stated by George Moore, who described the shoot accident in his poem "The two unknown poets" of 1891 (Rimbaud decaesed in 1891 in Marseille). The observation that Rimbaud was lying in a bed wet lace-work (Nl: kantwerk, Fr: dentelle) brought up the idea that Anne Pincemaille made lace, but normally that was not enough to live and it is known that this these woman had to do other work of "ill-repute" to survive. That leads us to the possibility that the accident took place in the flat of the tabacco shop of Mrs Pincemaille and that Rimbaud was afterwards laid in bed, still under influence of hash and absinth, till he was able to go to his hotel. 


Why: What was the reason of the accident?

 1. It has also told allways that the reason of the shooting accident was that Rimbaud would leave Brussels and let Verlaine alone.

 2. But people thought in the context of the "house of ill-repute" that maybe there was a dispute of jalousy and that Verlaine could not accept a relation between Rimbaud and Anne Pincemaille. 


Who was Jef Rosman?

The  unknown painter

 1. Was it a young, unknown painter, living nearby? Was it  André Marie Joseph Rosman, born 31 Jan 1853, Brussels. He lived in Brussels in 1866, rue des fabriques 13. In 1778 he went to liege, then to Ghent, came back to the rue des Fabriques, 13 in 1895 and has left it to France (St-Quentin) in 1897, then to Ghent in 1901  as a employee, but has emigrated to the US (Mishawaka, Indiana) in 1920 (67  years old) and disappeared. No other paintings are known from him.

 2. Or  was it Ernest Auguste Mouton?

He was a French artist-painter, ex-communard, escaped to Brussels. The father of Paul Verlaine was his godfather and he had the same age of the poet Paul Verlaine. Yet in June 1873, having a residence in the "Twaalf Apostelenstr 17", Brussel, he made an official statement at the police office in favor of Paul Verlaine. But only the 13th October he was officially registered. That let's make a supposition that he was working as a spy for the police (who controlled on this way the other ex-communards) against a residence-license. Jef Rosman was then the flemish pseudonyme, who used the French Mouton at the time he had no residence-license. Also following the police declaration he was hanging around with Paul Verlaine. 


Where was the painting made.

 1. Was it in the flat of Mrs Anne Pincemaille by the young unknown painter.  

 2. But the painting  (25 cm x 36cm), which  was found in 1947 by Henri Matassaro, was made obviously from a photo. That makes it possible that a photo  was taken  by Mouton as a police informant and that the painting was made later ,probably by Mouton, based on this photo and sold in 1947 in Paris, when the intrest  for Rimbaud was growing. 



1. Henri Matarasso, "A propos d'un nouveau portrait de Rimbaud", Mercure de France, 1 nov 1947.

2. Graaf Daniel A. de. Autour du dossier de Bruxelles, Mercure de France, 1 August 1956, 626-34.
3. Graaf, D.A. de. Arthur Rimbaud, sa vie, son oevre, Assen, Van Gorcum & co, 1960

4. Arthur Rimbaud, J.J. Lefère, ed ca 2000.

5. Rimbaud, Graham Robb, Picador, London, 2000
6. Graham Rob, Rimbaud de Biografie, ed Bert Bakker (Prometheus), 2003, vert. Eng. ed. "Rimbaud"

7. Marcel van Nieuwenborgh, Had Rimbaud een zoon in Brussel?, De Standaard, 20 okt 2004, Cultuur & Media, p. 29,

8.Rimbaud Blogspot:  http://rimbaudivre.blogspot.fr (2013/08/le-portrait-de-rimbaud-par-jef-rosman.html)