“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, February 17, 1922, Closerie des Lilas, 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris

This is a disaster.

French writer and Dada co-founder Andre Breton, about to turn 26, had wanted an evening of intellectual debate among his fellow avant-garde artists and writers on the Left Bank. But just by announcing the “International Congress for the Determination and Defence of the Modern Spirit” last month in the magazine Comoedia, he stirred up their passions. So Breton decided that, rather than wait until March as originally planned, he would hold the Congress now, here at the Closerie, one of their favorite cafes.

Closerie des Lilas

His so-called friends have turned this evening into a rant against Breton. He had begged Romanian-French poet Tristan Tzara, 25, to bring his followers in the Dada movement along. Tzara refused.

Breton is pleased with the artists who have come:  American painter Man Ray, 31; French artist Jean Cocteau, 32; Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 40; Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi, about to turn 46; French composer Erik Satie, 55.

But now they have turned against him—just because he criticized Tzara and Dadaism.

Breton has settled into a regular bourgeois lifestyle. He and his wife of four months have rented a flat that has become a gathering place in the evenings for the avant-garde of Paris. He wants to have philosophical debates—Is a top hat more or less modern than a locomotive, for example—but all these people want to do is scream at each other.

Andre Breton by Man Ray

Breton is already planning his next manifesto for Comoedia to be titled  “After Dada.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Tonight! We will be celebrating the belated 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein at 7 pm, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register to come to this free event or watch it via Zoom, here

Next week I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, before December 3, 1921, Libraire Six, Avenue de Lowendal, Paris

American ex-pat artist Man Ray, 31, is awfully chilly. He’s been working inside this gallery with no heat, getting everything ready for his first solo exhibit here in Paris. Ray has been offered this show by French writer Philippe Soupault, 24, who has recently opened this gallery inside his new bookshop, Librarie Six.

Philippe Soupault

Ray and his friend, French artist Marcel Duchamp, 34, are planning a big party for the private viewing on the 3rd of December. They are hiding all the paintings by filling the room with balloons which they will pop all at once with their lit cigarettes, yelling Hurrah!

For the catalogue, Ray includes this biographical note:

It’s no longer known where Mr. Ray was born. After a career as a coal merchant, millionaire several times over and chair of a chewing gum trust, he has decided to accept the invitation of the Dadaists to show his latest canvases in Paris.”

As Ray is working on hanging the exhibit, a little man, probably about 50 years old, looks at one of the paintings, and Ray mentions to him that he is really cold. The man takes Ray’s arm and, speaking to him in English, leads him out on to the street to the local café, where he orders them both “hot grogs.”

The man introduces himself to Ray as composer Erik Satie, 55, but starts speaking in French. Ray has to explain that he only speaks English. Satie says that it doesn’t matter. And orders more grogs.

As they walk out of the cafe, the two men pass a shop displaying a bunch of household tools. Ray picks up a flat iron and motions Satie to follow him into the store. Ray uses Satie as a translator so he can buy glue and a box of tacks.

When he returns to the gallery, Ray glues the tacks in a row to the bottom of the iron. He wants this to be a gift to his benefactor, Soupault, so he adds it to the exhibit and calls it The Gift.

Le Cadeau by Man Ray

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

At the end of February I will be talking about the Publication of Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 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 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.

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, late July, 1921, en route to Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

On board ship, steaming from the United States to France, New York artist Man Ray, 30, is looking forward to his new life in Paris.

In a couple of days, once he docks and takes a train to the Gare St. Lazare, his French friend, fellow artist Marcel Duchamp, about to turn 34, will be there to meet him.

Ray’s relocation is being funded by a Swiss-American collector he met through the Daniel Gallery in Manhattan. Ferdinand Howald, 65, is also supplying a $50 monthly allowance through the end of the year.

Lampshade by Man Ray

Ray [actually, Emmanuel Radnitzky] and Duchamp have been friends and chess rivals since Duchamp arrived in New York about six years ago. They have worked on projects separately and together, including one issue of a magazine, New York Dada. Ray has been making a living photographing the acquisitions of collectors such as Howald and Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51. Duchamp decided to move back home to France some months ago.

Last year, Ray, Duchamp and American artist and heiress, Katherine Dreier, 43, founded Societe Anonyme, the “Museum of Modern Art,” to present exhibits, symposiums and lectures. Dreier has been doing all the organizing and promoting.

Untitled, 12/11/03, 2:53 PM, 16C, 3450×4776 (600+0), 100%, AIA repro tone, 1/50 s, R58.9, G46.8, B59.3

Katherine Dreier

Recently. Ray gave a lecture for the Societe about Dada. As soon as he finished, Dreier got up, stood next to him, and told the audience she would now speak about modern art seriously.

Really.

When Howald offered him the opportunity to relocate and establish his career in Paris, he jumped at it. Time to leave New York behind…

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book format on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, mid-April, 1921, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York

Photographer and painter Man Ray, 30, is proud of his latest work.

He and his friend, painter and surrealist Marcel Duchamp, 33, have produced the first issue of a magazine, New York Dada.

They put a lot of effort into it, particularly the cover. To the uninitiated, it is a small photo of a perfume bottle, Belle Helaine, Eau de Voilette, with a not particularly attractive woman on the label.

New York Dada, issue #1

But their friends in Greenwich Village would recognize “her” as Rrose Selavy, one of the many pseudonyms Duchamp uses. In French the name sounds like “Eros, c’est la vie,” which translates as “Eros, such is life,” or even “arroser la vie” meaning “to toast to life.” Duchamp had the original idea and together they dressed him in a coy hat and makeup for the photo Ray took.

Rrose Selavy

The surreal theme continues inside with a picture of one of their surreal friends, artist and writer Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, 46, whose poetry has appeared in The Little Review magazine.

Self-portrait by Man Ray

Although Dada in the United States has developed separately from its European counterpart, Ray and Duchamp have managed to include in the issue a letter from the founder of the European movement, Tristan Tzara, about to turn 25, giving them permission to use the name “Dada” for their magazine. In his letter Tzara says,

Dada belongs to everybody…like the idea of God or the tooth-brush…[There] is nothing more incomprehensible than Dada. Nothing more indefinable.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

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