A Cubism Reader

Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

Copyright © 2008 The University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-226-02109-6

Contents

List of Illustrations.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................xv
Acknowledgments.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................xix
Introduction..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................1
Documents
1. "L'APPEL DE 1906," pamphlet published by the Abbaye de Créteil, 1906  Commentary 19................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................15
2. MARTIN-MAMY, "Chronique du mois," Le Feu (September 1907): 162-65  Commentary 24...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................22
3. GELETT BURGESS, "The Wild Men of Paris," The Architectural Record ([New York,] May 1910): 400-414  Commentary 40...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................26
4. GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, "Georges Braque," preface, Exposition Georges Braque, 9-28 November 1908, Galerie  Kahnweiler, 28, rue Vignon, Paris  Commentary 45.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................42
5. LOUIS VAUXCELLES, "Exposition Braque. Chez Kahnweiler, 28 rue Vignon," Gil Blas, 14 November 1908  Commentary 48...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................48
6. GERTRUDE STEIN, "Picasso" (1909), Camera Work ([New York,] August 1912): 29-30  Commentary 52......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................50
7. ELIE FAURE, "Préface," Exposition de peinture moderne (Société peinture moderne), Salle Boüdieu, Rouen, 20 December 1909-20 January 1910, pp. 1-2  Commentary 57...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................56
8. JEAN METZINGER, "La féerie," Ile Sonnante (April 1910): 152  Commentary 61.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................60
9. LÉON WERTH, "Exposition Picasso," La Phalange (20 June 1910): 728-30  Commentary 66................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................64
10. HENRI LE FAUCONNIER, "Das Kunstwerk," Neue Kunstlervereinigung München, Moderne Galerie Thannhauser, Munich, September 1910  Commentary 70........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................69
11. JEAN METZINGER, "Note sur la peinture," Pan (October-November 1910): 49-52  Commentary 78.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................75
12. ROGER ALLARD, "Au Salon d'Automne de Paris," L'Art Libre ([Lyons,] November 1910): 441-43  Commentary 86..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................84
13. JACQUES RIVIÈRE, "Exposition André Lhote. (Galerie Druet)," La Nouvelle Revue Française, no. 24 (July-December 1910): 806-8  Commentary 92........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................90
14. HENRI GUILBEAUX, "Exposition Pablo Picasso (Vollard, rue Laffi tte)," Les Hommes du Jour (7 January 1911): n.p. Commentary 95.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................94
15. J. C. HOLL, "Une enquête sur l'orientation da la peinture moderne. Part 2: Le Fauconnier," La Revue du Temps Present (2 May 1911): 466-67  Commentary 98..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................97
16. MARIUS DE ZAYAS, "Pablo Picasso," América, Revista Mensual Illustrada ([New York,] May 1911): 363-65  Commentary 105..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................100
17. CYRIL BERGER, "Chez Metzi," Paris-Journal, 29 May 1911, p. 3  Commentary 111......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................108
18. ROGER ALLARD, "Sur quelques peintres," Les Marches du Sud-Ouest (June 1911): 57-64  Commentary 120................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................113
19. JEAN METZINGER, "Cubisme et tradition," Paris-Journal, 18 August 1911, p. 5  Commentary 125.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................123
20. ARDENGO SOFFICI, "Picasso e Braque," La Voce ([Florence,] 24 August 1911): 635-37  Commentary 140.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................128
21. ALBERT GLEIZES, "Art et ses représentants," La Revue Indépendante (September 1911): 161-72  Commentary 152........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................145
22. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "Pablo Picasso," Paris-Journal, 21 September 1911  Commentary 154............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................154
23. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "Jean Metzinger," Paris-Journal, 3 October 1911  Commentary 158..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................157
24. URBAIN GOHIER, "Notre peinture," Le Journal, 10 October 1911  Commentary 164......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................160
25. HENRI GUILBEAUX, "Le cubisme et MM. Urbain Gohier et Apollinaire," Les Hommes du Jour (11 November 1911): n.p. [8]  Commentary 164................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................163
26. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "Georges Braque," Paris-Journal, 13 October 1911  Commentary 168.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................168
27. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "André Derain," Paris-Journal, 25 October 1911  Commentary 170...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................170
28. MAURICE VERNE, "Un jour de pluie chez M. Bergson," L'Intransigeant, 26 November 1911  Commentary 175..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................172
29. ALBERT GLEIZES, "A propos du Salon d'Automne," Les Bandeaux d'Or ([Arras,] November 1911): 42-51  Commentary 187..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................178
30. RENÉ BLUM, "Préface," Exposition d'art contemporain (Société normande de peinture moderne), Galerie d'Art Ancien et d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 20 November-16 December 1911, p. 1  Commentary 190.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................189
31. JEAN METZINGER, "Alexandre Mercereau," Vers et Prose (October-December 1911): 122-29  Commentary 211..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................192
32. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "Courrier des ateliers: Exposition probable," Paris-Journal, 21 January 1912, pp. 4-5  Commentary 213........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................213
33. OLIVIER HOURCADE [PSEUD. OF OLIVIER BAG], "La tendance de la peinture contemporaine," La Revue de France et des Pays Français (February 1912): 35-41  Commentary 223..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................215
34. "LETTRE D'ANDRÉ MARE À MAURICE MARINOT," 20 February 1912 (collection Mme. Mare-Vène, Paris)  Commentary 229......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................226
35. MAURICE PRINCET, "Preface: Robert Delaunay," Les Peintres R. Delaunay, Marie Laurencin, Galerie Barbazanges, Fauburg Saint-Honoré Paris, 28 February-13 March 1912  Commentary 234................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................232
36. OLIVIER HOURCADE [PSEUD. OF OLIVIER BAG], "Enquêe sur le cubisme," L'Action (25 February, [10 March?], 17 March, and 24 March 1912)  Commentary 244...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................237
37. JACQUES RIVIÈRE, "Sur la tendance actuelle de la peinture," Revue d'Europe et d'Amérique (1 March 1912): 384-406  Commentary 267..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................249
38. PIERRE DUMONT, "Les arts: Les Indépendants," Les Hommes du Jour (part 1: 6 April 1912, n.p.; part 2: 13 April 1912, n.p.; part 3: 20 April 1912, n.p.)  Commentary 278............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................269
39. JACQUES DE GACHONS, "La peinture d'après-demain (?)," Je Sais Tout! (15 April 1912)  Commentary 284...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................281
40. JACQUES NAYRAL [PSEUD. OF JACQUES HUOT], "Préface," Exposició d'art cubista, Galeries J. Dalmau, Barcelona, 20 April-10 May 1912, pp. 1-7  Commentary 293.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................287
41. OLIVIER HOURCADE [PSEUD. OF OLIVIER BAG], "Le mouvement pictoral: Vers une école françise de peinture," La Revue de France et des Pays Français (June 1912): 254-58  Commentary 303...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................297
42. ELIE FAURE, "Préface," Troisièe exposition de la Société normande de peinture moderne, Rouen, 15 June-15 July 1912, pp. 2-4  Commentary 308.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................306
43. MAURICE RAYNAL, "Préface," Troisièe exposition de la Société normande de peinture moderne, Rouen, 15 June-15 July 1912, pp. 9-11  Commentary 314..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................312
44. MAURICE RAYNAL, "Conception et vision," Gil Blas, 29 August 1912  Commentary 321..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................318
45. "M. LAMPUÉ S'INDIGNE CONTRE LE SALON D'AUTOMNE," Le Journal, 5 October 1912, p. 1  Commentary 325.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................324
46. RENÉ BLUM, "Préface, Salon de 'la Section d'or,'" Galerie de la Boétie, 64 bis, Paris, rue de La Boétie, 10-30 October 1912, pp. 1-2  Commentary 329..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................328
47. LA SECTION D'OR. NUMÉRO SPÉCIAL CONSACRÉ À L'EXPOSITION DE LA "SECTION D'OR," vol. 1, no. 1 (9 October 1912). Rédacteur: M. Pierre Dumont. Secrétaire de la Rédaction: Pierre Reverdy. Guillaume Apollinaire, "Jeunes peintres ne vous frappez pas!," 1-2; Maurice Raynal, "L'Exposition de la 'Section d'Or,'" 2-5; G. Buffet, "Impressionisme musical," 5; Pieree Reverdy, "A un pavre écoeuré," 6; Marc Brésil, "La revue de la presse et des livres," 6-7  Commentary 345.....................332
48. LAN-PU-HÉ, "Cubist Bar," Fantasio, 15 October 1912, p. 195  Commentary 353........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................351
49. PIERRE LAMPUÉ "Lettre ouverte à M. Bérard, sous-secretaire d'Etat aux Beaux-Arts," Mercure de France (16 October 1912): 894-95  Commentary 356....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................355
50. ANDRÉ SALMON, "Histoire anecdotique du cubisme," in La jeune peinture française (Paris: Société des Trente, Albert Messein, 1912), 41-61  Commentary 367..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................357
51. ANDRÉ SALMON, "La peinture féminine au XXe siécle," in La jeune peinture française, 111 and 114-18  Commentary 375................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................370
52. LOUIS VAUXCELLES, "La 'jeune peinture française,'" Gil Blas, 21 October 1912  Commentary 380......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................377
53. LA PALETTE [PSEUD. OF ANDRÉ SALMON], "Robert Delaunay," Paris-Journal, 1 November 1912, p. 4  Commentary 381......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................381
54. HENRI LE FAUCONNIER, "La sensibilité moderne et le tableau," in Moderne Kunstkring (Musée Municipal [Stedelijk], Amsterdam, 6 October-7 November 1912), 17-27  Commentary 388.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................384
55. "DÉBATS PARLEMENTAIRES," Journal Officiel de la Chambre des Députés (3 December 1912): 2924-26  Commentary 405....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................395
56. MAX GOTH [PSEUD. OF MAXIMILIEN GAUTHIER], "L'Art décoratif au Salon d'Automne," Les Hommes du Jour (26 December 1912): n.p.  Commentary 414.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................410
57. ALBERT GLEIZES AND JEAN METZINGER, Du "Cubisme" (Paris: Eugène Figuière, [27 December] 1912)  Commentary 435......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................418
58. HENRIQUEZ-PHILLIPE, "Le cubisme devant les artistes," Les Annales Politiques et Litteraires (July-December 1912): 473-75  Commentary 446..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................438
59. GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, "Realité, peinture pure," Der Sturm ([Berlin,] December 1912)  Commentary 457..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................453
60. ALBERT GLEIZES, "La tradition et le cubisme," Montjoie! (1 and 2 February 1913)  Commentary 466...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................460
61. GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, "Die moderne Malerei," Der Sturm ([Berlin,] February 1913): 272  Commentary 475............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................471
62. GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, Les peintres cubistes: Méditations esthétiques (Paris: Eugène Figuène [17 March], 1913)  Commentary 514....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................525
63. LES COMPAGNONS DE L'ACTION D'ART, "Monument du poète Oscar Wilde par EPSTEIN," broadside distributed with L'Action d'Art (15 April 1913)  Commentary 525..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................524
64. [ANONYMOUS,] "Evolution de l'art: Vers l'amorphisme," Les Hommes du Jour (3 May 1913): 10  Commentary 533.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................530
65. FERNAND LÉGER, "Les origines de la peinture et sa valeur représentative," Montjoie! (29 May 1913): 7 and 14-29; (June 1913): 9-10  Commentary 543.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................535
66. YVONNE LEMAITRE, "An Interview with Jean Metzinger on Cubists and What They Are Doing in the Art World," Courier-Citizen, [Lowell, MA,] 12 May 1913, p. 7  Commentary 551.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................547
67. GABRIELLE BUFFET [PICABIA], "Modern Art and the Public," Camera Work, special issue ([New York,] June 1913): 10-14  Commentary 560................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................555
68. "EXHIBITION OF NEW YORK STUDIES BY FRANCIS PICABIA," Camera Work ([New York,] April-July 1913): 19-20  Commentary 567.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................565
69. ROGER DE LA FRESNAYE, "De l'imitation dans la peinture et la sculpture," La Grande Revue (10 July 1913): 316-25  Commentary 577...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................569
70. "MODERNE KUNSTKRING, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Exposition internationale du Cercle de l'art moderne à     Amsterdam," De Kunst: Een Algemeen Geïllustreerd En Artiskiek Weekblad ([Amsterdam,] 8 November 1913)  Commentary 595................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................582
71. ROGER ALLARD, "Le Salon d'Automne," Les Ecrits Francais (14 November 1913): 3-4  Commentary 599...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................598
72. JEAN METZINGER, "Kubistická Technika," Volné Smery 12 ([Prague,] 1913): 279-92  Commentary 612....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................602
73. RAYMOND DUCHAMP-VILLON, "L'Architecture et le fer," Poème et Drame (January-March 1914): 22-29  Commentary 623....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................617
74. ADOLPHE TABARANT, "Le Salon des Indépendants," L'Action (1 March 1914): 2  Commentary 632.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................628
75. FERNAND LÉGER, "Les réalisations picturales actuelles," Les Soirées des Paris (15 June 1914): 349-56  Commentary 642..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................634
76. GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, "Simultanéisme-Librettisme," Les Soirées de Paris (15 June 1914): 322-25  Commentary 649...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................645
77. GABRIEL ARBOUIN, "Devant l'idégramme d'Apollinaire," Les Soirées de Paris (July-August 1914): 383-85  Commentary 653..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................652
Bibliography..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................659
Index.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................675


Chapter One

DOCUMENT 1.

"L'Appel de 1906," pamphlet published by the Abbaye de Créteil, 1906

Appeal of 1906

As young writers, poets, and painters, we are passionate about our art and profoundly dedicated to it.

For at least two or three years, each of us, sustained by an altogether youthful confidence in his labor, in his activities, and in the methods proper to his talent, has attempted to achieve the beginnings of notoriety that allow the artist to practice his art in complete peace and to make a living at it, however mediocre.

We have now acquired the certainty that, with the exception of extraordinary circumstances in which worth plays only a small role, it takes the writer or artist without a fortune at least half his life to reach a point where he is no longer plagued by material concerns.

We know that many of our elders, in spite of their great talent-and sometimes because of it-can devote to their precious work only the little leisure time left over after they have earned their mercenary living.

Those who wish at all cost, and without a long wait, to live by their pen or paintbrush must stoop to prostitution and take the dangerous road leading downward, from which one never returns and which leads very far below art.

We do not even want to envision that solution. Since we have no fortune, we have up to now adopted the only one possible: to earn a living, we are artisans, or we submit to the least literary of writing jobs. We are not at all resigned to that fate, however: we are young and not yet emasculated by a mediocre life, not yet cut off from all tangible ideal and all vigor.

The warm feelings of our peers, the hearty reception of our elders and teachers, and the approval of the judges at exhibitions-relative, but valid in some respect-have given us the joyous certainty that we can do useful work. That is why, in all stubbornness, we want to acquire maximum freedom for the work that is precious to us; and, to do that, we want to bravely undertake a project. Here is the feasible enterprise toward which we are currently working.

Our hearts are set neither on official stamps of approval nor on the insolent noise of parades, which are the monopoly of mediocre people; and we want to remain apart from the struggles, the petty intrigues and bribery, which, along with some other things, constitute literary social climbing.

Although we do not extol the ivory tower, we dream of the dwelling place Nietzsche speaks of, that dwelling too high and too steep for anyone impure, and by means of which we will escape from the gutter.

And we came up with the following: To found our abbey outside the town, as a sanctuary of art and thought far removed from utilitarianism and economic appetites and struggles, just as the medieval abbey was, for the chroniclers and encyclopedists, a refuge far removed from the feudal wars. In short, to create, for a few people, a free Villa Médicis, whose guests, without the yoke of an official error, would work in complete peace, communing with one another in their enthusiasm, satisfying their needs in common, pooling their resources. Yes, here again, the question of a livelihood is raised; but, after careful study, we have found a way to make it the distraction necessary to any intellectual labor-manual work for four to five hours a day, for which Renan, according to his own account, abandoned his faculty chair.

We now begin a practical explanation of the project.

What manual trade is more likely to captivate literary writers, as most of us are, than printing? And to what other trade would they bring more competence and diligence? It is intimately connected to their work; it is its indispensable corollary, especially since there is more than one way to do printing. There is the laborer-printer and the craftsman-printer; there is the industry catalog and the art publication; there is also the exacting and captivating printing of lithographs and etchings. Aided in that pursuit by the technical knowledge of one of our group and by the experience of an old craftsman, we would thus found a printing office in our abbey; we would edit and publish, in particular, poets, lithographers, etchers, and engravers.

To show what practical interest such an undertaking offers, and for what success it may be destined, we will give only one example:

It is well known within the literary world that poets can no longer find an avenue for publishing that does not cost them anything (with the exception, of course, of the great popular versifiers). A poet goes to a printer, generally a provincial printer; then, once the book is printed, he has to find, at least as a matter of form, a publishing house, a mark, a firm. The editors with some renown charge a high price simply for the right to have their name inscribed on the first page of a book; generally, they even impose their own printer, who may not be the least exacting. Poets who do not wish or are unable to pay a firm take on a purely fictitious publisher, a young review or a literary group. Let us note that the collection of very important publications by Plume and Mercure de France came into being in that way, and that the latter has now become one of the most prosperous and useful booksellers. But let us come to our example:

A few years ago, a bibliophile and scholar, Mr. Edmond Girard, who had the dream of making it easier for poets to publish their works, became both their printer and their publisher, and founded La Maison des Poètes.

At the printing office of La Maison des Poètes, there were only two workers: Mr. E. Girard and his wife. And both of them, once they had become skillful in setting the type and in the presswork, undertook, in one of the most artistic formats ever seen, a collection of the best works of poetry from the most recent generation.

There were no fewer than seventy of these works when Mrs. Girard died. That death brought to an abrupt close the thriving Maison des Poètes.

So, then, what Mr. Girard so successfully attempted, we can attempt in our turn; our task will be easier than his, since our printing office will have more than two workers, and since we have, at present, the assurance that the great majority of our fellow writers, in their own interest and out of sympathy for our idea, will come to us.

It goes without saying that we will publish our own works and that our draftsmen, lithographers, and so on, will make prints of their own as well.

A corresponding bookseller in Paris will be in charge of sales.

We would therefore like:

To install our abbey outside the immediate environs of Paris, in a setting picturesque enough to hold the attention of painters, and in a fairly large and simple residence or villa to be rented.

To set up an improvised print shop there, one destined to grow over time.

Periodically to hold, at the abbey and in Paris, exhibitions and sales of paintings, engravings, lithographs, art studies, and, in a general way, to supplement the material resources of our own publications with all those stemming from our respective arts.

And finally, to lead, in the greatest simplicity, the existence of passionate, hardworking, and FREE artists.

For the creation of that abbey, which we desire with all our heart, we are unfortunately lacking the indispensable funds to cover the initial setup costs and the rental of a place of residence. These funds, according to a carefully thought-out appraisal, would come to thirty thousand francs, the detailed allocation of which we are prepared to provide.

For four years, we have considered borrowing these thirty thousand francs. But it is easy to understand that it would be impossible to sign for that loan as a business from any financiers or patrons in commercial enterprises; they would not see the point of it, and, in addition, would require a large return on their investment and, above all, material guarantees. But the only guarantees we have-and this would be paltry in their eyes-apart from the leased building and the equipment in the print office, which the lender would have at his disposal, are our young talents, the high likelihood of the success of our enterprise, and our proud scruples.

That is why we wanted to turn, not to businessmen, to those who deal in money, but to a heart and mind for whom these guarantees might, all the same, have some value.

Your reputation for kindness, the interest you show toward any undertaking of a useful nature, and your taste for art have led us to knock at your door first of all.

We therefore dare solicit a bit of your attention for our project, putting ourselves completely at your disposal to give you all the information concerning it, and to allow you to get to know our early work and ourselves.

To end this exposition of the generalities, we will only add that we come to you with great hope; that whether our simple dream collapses or becomes a glittering reality is up to you; and that, if this project of a Thélème of artists and poets, destined for the brightest of futures, if this project owes its life to you, our heartfelt and constant gratitude will accompany its birth.

Commentary

Despite its short existence (December 1906 to January 1908), the Abbey of Créteil facilitated interaction between poets and painters who would later become prominent figures in the history of cubism (fig. 1). The origins of the Abbey grew out of the collaboration of the painter-poet René Arcos (1881-1959) and the writers Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), Alexandre Mercereau (pseudonym Eshmer Valdor, 1884-1945), and Charles Vildrac (1882-1972) in the Parisian review La Vie (1904). Arcos introduced his collaborators to Albert Gleizes (1881-1953)-an avid reader of the French utopian socialists Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier-whom he had met while working alongside the painter in a textile design workshop owned by Gleizes's father. Following the demise of La Vie, this group founded the Association Ernest Renan in December 1905 with the aim of educating workers and overcoming the "bourgeois" division between manual labor and artistic expression. Modeled after the Université populaire movement (1899-1914), the Association Ernest Renan was resolutely secular, communitarian, and socialist in orientation.

The idea for an artists' commune had first come from Vildrac, who envisioned the creation of a self-supporting artistic community modeled after the vision of an Abbaye of Thélème developed by Rabelais in Gargantua (1534), Fourier's concept of a phalanstery (Adams, 33-34) and the self-sufficient agrarian communities championed by the anarchist Peter Kropotkin. In 1906 Vildrac and his friends were able to realize their dream when the poet Henri-Martin Barzun (b. 1881) joined their ranks beginning in December 1906 and provided the funds for renting a decaying house and servant's quarters situated on two and a half acres, southeast of Paris on the banks of the Marne (Brooke, 6). Concurrently the printer Lucien Linard, and the painters Berthold Mahn (1881-1975) and Jacques d'Otémar-all of whom had befriended Gleizes during his military service (1902-5)-joined the collective. In 1907 the composer Albert Doyen also moved to the Abbey and held a number of concerts during his residence there.

As the "Appeal of 1906" makes clear, the group hoped to sustain their community by establishing a small publishing house on the premises and pooling their labor to maximize the amount of time they could spend pursuing their artistic endeavors. In 1907 the Abbey press published Barzun's La terrestre tragédie, an epic poem evoking the life of the city, of crowds, and the promethean labor of factory workers; other published texts included Arcos' La tragédie des espaces, Duhamel's Des légendes, des batailles, and Mercereau's Gens de là et d'ailleurs. In 1908 the press printed its most significant volume: Jules Romains' (1885-1972) La vie unanime, a poem celebrating the writer's ability to "intuit" a new collective consciousness that he viewed as permeating life in the modern metropolis. This interest in cosmopolitan themes and "epic consciousness" owed a good deal to earlier writers like Walt Whitman (1819-92) and René Ghil (1862-1925) (Robbins, "Sources of Cubism and Futurism"; Brooke, 6-9); scholars have rightly identified Arcos', Barzun's, and Romains' poetry as literary precedents for the grand subjects favored by the cubists Robert Delaunay, Gleizes, Fernand Léger, and Henri Le Fauconnier after 1910 (Fabre; Green, 9-38; Robbins, "From Symbolism to Cubism"; Rousseau et al., 77-91, 118-21; Sund).

The references to Ernest Renan (1823-92) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) in the "Appeal of 1906" point to the group's desire to achieve the maximum in individual creative freedom by means of the collective endeavor of book publishing and the common labor involved in maintaining the buildings and its grounds. In later years Gleizes claimed that individual self-interest gradually undermined the spirit of mutual cooperation, and that this hastened the Abbey's demise (Gleizes); in truth, the inability to meet their fiscal goals was the primary deterrent that resulted in the Abbey's closure in early 1908. In January 1908 the group installed the press at 7, rue de Bainville in Paris, where they continued to meet and to publish books for a brief period. By 1911 a schism had begun to form between the Abbey's former adherents, with Arcos, Barzun, and Gleizes endorsing Barzun's poetic doctrine of "dramatism," while Duhamel, Vildrac, and the poet Jean-Pierre Jouve (1887-1976) joined Jules Romains in propagating "unanimism." Despite the literary divide, figures from both groups continued to publish in the unanimist vehicle Les Bandeaux d'Or (1906-14) and in Barzun's Poème et Drame (1912-14). After World War I Gleizes, Mercereau, and Duhamel each published widely differing assessments of the Abbey, giving vent to these sectarian disputes (Fabre). Scholars of cubism continue to debate whether the Abbey of Créteil should be regarded as an experiment in anarchist-oriented communitarianism (M. Antliff and Leighten, 91-93; Robbins, "From Symbolism to Cubism") or as an elitist flight from urbanism and contemporary politics (Cottington, 73-74).

Chapter Two

DOCUMENT 2.

Martin-Mamy, "Chronique du mois," Le Feu (September 1907): 162-65

Monthly Report

Letter from Paris, September 1907 Dear Marie-Louise,

I had an adventure the other day, which I could not conceal from you without doing an injustice; I lived for an hour among sages ...

To tell the truth, let me say that proverbs, the small change on which the ideology of the common herd feeds itself, are almost always false, and I am happy to be able to write that wisdom is of this world, since I was privileged to verify its effects some fifteen kilometers from Paris, next to a Vulci called the Marne, a hundred paces from the church of Créteil, to be precise.

A road that rises a little, then drops suddenly as if it wanted to catch the hiker by surprise, suddenly uncovering to him the green water that runs under the fresh archway of greenery, leads to a portal; and there a plaque is affixed, displaying these simple words: The Abbey.

I entered the abbey, I penetrated, under the vault of greenery, the poetic intimacy of its grounds, and I made the acquaintance of the happy little tribe that lives there.

There are about ten of them, poets, painters, sculptors, musicians. Two of them are married. Their wives add grace where there is only beauty, and two babies, shaking little bells with their fresh laughter in the silence, dispense gaiety where there is only happiness.

(Continues...)



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