21 May 1919
My dear Tzara,
I'm sorry you're not coming to Paris yet. Your presence would do me good because you are really not like all these men who turn art and intelligence into a profession, all these individuals who work at being great men and nothing more. My only aim, though, is foolish tenacity. Luckily I have my friend Ribemont-Dessaignes; he's working a lot right now and what he does is really what I like best. His works have an incomparable quality, ripples of himself and riches in the sun...
I'd be so happy if you could come. Please have my paintings sent to me.
I'm no longer working.
My best wishes, your friend,
My best regards to Arp.
We may have a beautiful gallery in Paris; he must send me his works.
The will brings life down on its knees; nine months later feigned euphoria crosses trivial thinking. F.P.
Matisse's exhibition. Very bad.
Negro exhibition. Good.
P. Guillaume has a review. Stupid.
Compare and contrast with this exchange between Tzara and Breton:
[Letter from Tzara to the surrealist group, 20 December 1932]
I ask that this be communicated to all the surrealists:
- It is unacceptable that I should be asked to come and defend myself against a very grave accusation, and that, even before the meeting takes place, I should be insulted over the phone.
- I believe I've acted with complete good faith toward the surrealists and that preventing me from explaining myself in this manner is a low, disgraceful act.
- I hold all those who pass judgement on me without knowing the material and psychological conditions behind the act of which I'm accused to be rotten individuals.
- Should any of you require the necessary explanations, I am at your disposal.
[Letter from Breton to Tzara, 21 December 1932]
- It is indeed regrettable that, despite my intentions, I lost my temper over the phone and insulted you: I will try to publicly explain which remarks led me to lose my composure on that occasion.
- It was never my intention to prevent you from explaining yourself – quite the contrary.
- I am waiting to be told about the material and psychological conditions of which you spoke so that I can form a definitive opinion.
- We ask you to come by tomorrow Wednesday at 6 o'clock sharp avenue Malakoff.
Okay, that's a little unfair, but fucking hell.