They start off very serious and earnest, when he was 19 and reading Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. He'd set out his philosophy of beauty and go on about Minna Tube, who would be his first wife. It's like an extended love letter, one which includes explanations of why he'd have to sleep with other women – because he's an artist who reads Nietzsche basically.
Apparently, in later years, he'd read these diaries aloud to Minna of an evening.
I particularly like the one from Paris in 1904. It can be paraphrased thusly:
I'm in the pub. Gee, drinking wine's quite good, eh? I'm getting quite pissed.
Later now, and I'm really pissed. Woohoo!
Hey, that's fucking Edvard Munch sitting over there!
Ye gods, I can imagine the reaction if I tried sitting Rose down and reading this blog aloud to her!* Let alone if I tried the artist who reads Nietzsche line.
But then, we do live in much more conservative, strait-laced times.
I mean, fuck, when Picabia went a bit mental, his wife wrote to his girlfriend and said, 'You look after him. I can't be fucked.'
Minna Tube gave Beckmann the flick in 1915, cos he kept on sleeping with other women and cos he wouldn't let her have a career of her own. She became an opera singer.
Gabrielle Buffet (Picabia's wife) had an affair with Duchamp before giving Picabia the flick.
*After reading this, Rose pointed out that I do sit her down and read Nietzsche aloud.