“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, early November, 1922, Pension Nowe, Ronda San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain

Had he not promised to give the lecture, French writer Andre Breton, 26, and his wife Simone, 25, would head back to Paris today.

But they drove here a few days ago with their friends, painter Francis Picabia, 43, and his mistress, for the opening of an exhibit of Picabia’s work at the Dalmau Gallery, and Breton promised to deliver a lecture about the current state of art in France.

Femme Espagnole by Francis Picabia

It took over a week to get here, in Picabia’s sporty Mercer convertible. Breton wore his leather pilot’s helmet, goggles and his heavy fur coat. In Marseilles they stopped to see a disappointing exhibit with fake African artefacts, where Breton spent 20 francs on a stuffed armadillo. Which woke up and jumped out of his arms.

Mercer touring car

Since they arrived in Barcelona, Simone has been bedridden with salmonella poisoning. The only saving grace has been the Gaudi architecture throughout the town. Andre sent a postcard of the cathedral Sagrada Familia to his Spanish friend back in Paris, painter Pablo Picasso, 41, asking,

Do you know this marvel?”

Sagrada Familia

In his talk Breton is planning to announce, in French to an audience of Spaniards, his belief that the Dada movement is over. He feels that there is a new movement brewing, which involves artists such as Picabia, Picasso, and American Man Ray, 32, but they are so far unorganized and un-named.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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2 thoughts on ““Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, early November, 1922, Pension Nowe, Ronda San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain

  1. An insightful window at an important moment in time for Western culture. Dadaism had run out of steam and a new art was dawning. Thank you for this, a truly rewarding read.

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