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Jean-François Vautrin


Jean-François Vautrin was born in Charmes (Vosges) on March 26th, 1755 and was baptized the same day. Son of Joseph Vautrin and Barbe Régent, his godfather and godmother were husband and wife, Jean-François Nicolas Belfoy, advisor to the local bailiff, and Marie Duret.

Few details are known concerning his childhood. He did his organbuilder apprenticeship with Nicolas Dupont in Nancy, whom he will eventually succeed. He remained close to Nicolas Dupont’s widow and will attend her funeral on the 18th of February 1789,  even signing the parish burial registry, in Malzéville (suburb of Nancy).

Facteurs 07.Vautrin.SignatVautrin himself claimed in Remiremont (Vosges) in 1803 to have worked for François-Henri Cliquot in Paris. His manufacture’s activity was considerably hit by the French Revolution and its aftermath, as France and particularly the Catholic Church, remained disorganized until Napoléon’s road to power. Hence, Vautrin fully practiced his talent back only at the start of the 19th century.

During the Revolutionary period (1789-1799), Vautrin, after having finished a complete restoration work of the great organ of Saint-Michel Abbey-church in Saint-Mihiel (Meuse) in 1792, accepts to work as an gardens manager or inspecteur de parc.

His main legacy seems to be the extension of the Dupont great organ in Nancy’s Cathedral, especially the addition of the 32-feet Bombarde to the pedal, the first of its kind in France. He also was in charge and intervened at various levels in the organs of Saint-Epvre in Nancy, Saint-Nicolas-de-Port Basilica close to Nancy, Saint-Etienne in Bar-le-Duc (Meuse) which he entirely built, and Saint-Michel Abbey-church in Saint-Mihiel which he renovated.

Vautrin died in Nancy on July 12th, 1835 in his house located 80 Saint-Georges Street, not far from the Cathedral. Joseph Cuvillier, who he employed, will eventually succeed him.