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Guillaume Apollinaire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guillaume Apollinaire
Photograph of Guillaume Apollinaire in spring 1916 after a shrapnel wound to his temple
Photograph of Guillaume Apollinaire in spring 1916 after a shrapnel wound to his temple
BornWilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki
(1880-08-26)26 August 1880
Rome, Italy
Died9 November 1918(1918-11-09) (aged 38)
Paris, France
OccupationPoet, writer, art critic

Signature

Guillaume Apollinaire (French: [ɡijom apɔlinɛʁ]; 26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918) was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish-Belarusian descent.

Apollinaire is considered one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century, as well as one of the most impassioned defenders of Cubism and a forefather of Surrealism. He is credited with coining the term "cubism" in 1911 to describe the emerging art movement and the term "surrealism" in 1917 to describe the works of Erik Satie. The term Orphism (1912) is also his. Apollinaire wrote one of the earliest Surrealist literary works, the play The Breasts of Tiresias (1917), which became the basis for the 1947 opera Les mamelles de Tirésias.

Apollinaire was active as a journalist and art critic for Le Matin, L'Intransigeant, L'Esprit nouveau, Mercure de France, and Paris Journal. In 1912 Apollinaire cofounded Les Soirées de Paris [fr], an artistic and literary magazine.

Two years after being wounded in World War I, Apollinaire died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918; he was 38.

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  • ✪ The poet who painted with his words - Geneviève Emy
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  • ✪ Rendez-vous avec: APOLLINAIRE.

Transcription

Among the great poets of literary history, certain names like Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Whitman are instantly recognizable. However, there's an early 20th century great French poet whose name you may not know: Guillaume Apollinaire. He was a close friend and collaborator of artists like Picasso, Rousseau, and Chagall. He coined the term surrealism, and he was even suspected of stealing the Mona Lisa in 1911. During his short lifetime, he created poetry that combined text and image in a way that seemingly predicted an artistic revolution to come. In the late 19th and early 20th century Paris, the low-rent districts of Montmartre and Montparnasse were home to every kind of starving artist. It was all they could afford. These painters, writers, and intellectuals, united in their artistic passion and counterculture beliefs, made up France's bohemian subculture. And their works of art, literature, and intellect would shake up the world. At the turn of the 20th century, within this dynamic scene, art critic, poet, and champion of the avant-garde, Guillaume Apollinaire was a well-known fixture. As an art critic, Apollinaire explained the cubist and surrealist movements to the world, and rose to the defense of many young artists in the face of what was often a xenophobic and narrow-minded public. As a poet, Apollinaire was passionate about all forms of art and a connoisseur of medieval literature, especially calligraphy and illuminated initials. As a visionary, Apollinaire saw a gap between two artistic institutions. On one side was the popular, highly lauded traditional art forms of the time. On the other, the forms of artistic expression made possible through surrealism, cubism, and new inventions, like the cinema and the phonograph. Within that divide, through the creation of his most important contribution to poetry, the calligram, Guillaume Apollinaire built a bridge. Apollinaire created the calligram as a poem picture, a written portrait, a thoughts drawing, and he used it to express his modernism and his desire to push poetry beyond the normal bounds of text and verse and into the 20th century. Some of his calligrams are funny, like the "Lettre-Océan." Some of them are dedicated to his young dead friends, like "La Colombe Poignardée et le jet d'eau." Some of them are the expression of an emotional moment, as is "Il Pleut": "It's raining women's voices as if they had died even in memory, and it's raining you as well, Marvellous encounters of my life, o little drops. Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities. Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music. Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below." Each calligram is intended to allow readers to unchain themselves from the regular experience of poetry, and feel and see something new. "Lettre-Océan" is first an image to be seen before even the words are read. Text-only elements combine with words in shapes and forms. Two circular forms, one locked in a square, the other, morph beyond the page in the shape of a spiral. Together they create a picture that hints towards cubism. Then on closer reading of the text, the descriptive words within suggest the image of an aerial view of the Eiffel Tower. They give tribute to electromagnetic waves of the telegraph, a new form of communication at the time. Undoubtedly, the deeply layered artistic expressions in Apollinaire's calligrams are not just a brilliant display of poetic prowess from a master of the form. Each calligram itself is also a snapshot in time, encapsulating the passion, the excitement, and the anticipation of all the bohemian artists of Paris, including Apollinaire, most of whom are well ahead of their time, and with their innovative work, eagerly grasping for the future.

Contents

Life

Apollinaire (left) and André Rouveyre in 1914
Apollinaire, 1902, Cologne
Apollinaire, 1902, Cologne

Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki was born in Rome, Italy, and was raised speaking French, Italian, and Polish.[1] He emigrated to France in his late teens and adopted the name Guillaume Apollinaire. His mother, born Angelika Kostrowicka, was a Polish noblewoman born near Navahrudak, Grodno Governorate (present-day Belarus). His maternal grandfather was a general in the Russian Imperial Army who was killed in the Crimean War. Apollinaire's father is unknown but may have been Francesco Costantino Camillo Flugi d'Aspermont (born 1835), a Graubünden aristocrat who disappeared early from Apollinaire's life. Francesco Flugi von Aspermont was a nephew of Conradin Flugi d'Aspermont (1787–1874), a poet who wrote in ladin putèr (an official language dialect of Switzerland spoken in Engiadina ota), and perhaps also of the Minnesänger Oswald von Wolkenstein (born c. 1377, died 2 August 1445; see Les ancêtres Grisons du poète Guillaume Apollinaire at Généanet).

Apollinaire eventually moved from Rome to Paris[2] and became one of the most popular members of the artistic community of Paris (both in Montmartre and Montparnasse). His friends and collaborators in that period included Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, André Salmon, André Breton, André Derain, Faik Konitza, Blaise Cendrars, Pierre Reverdy, Alexandra Exter, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Ossip Zadkine, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Metzinger. He became romantically involved with Marie Laurencin, who is often identified as his muse. While there, he dabbled in anarchism and spoke out as a Dreyfusard in defense of Dreyfus's innocence.[3]

In late 1909 or early 1910, Metzinger painted a Cubist portrait of Apollinaire. In his Vie anecdotique (16 October 1911), the poet proudly writes: "I am honoured to be the first model of a Cubist painter, Jean Metzinger, for a portrait exhibited in 1910 at the Salon des Indépendants." It was not only the first Cubist portrait, according to Apollinaire, but it was also the first great portrait of the poet exhibited in public, prior to others by Louis Marcoussis, Amedeo Modigliani, Mikhail Larionov and Picasso.[4]

"La Joconde est Retrouvée" (The Mona Lisa is Found), Le Petit Parisien, No. 13559, 13 December 1913
"La Joconde est Retrouvée" (The Mona Lisa is Found), Le Petit Parisien, No. 13559, 13 December 1913

In 1911 he joined the Puteaux Group, a branch of the Cubist movement soon to be known as the Section d'Or. The opening address of the 1912 Salon de la Section d'Or—the most important pre-World War I Cubist exhibition—was given by Apollinaire.[5][6]

On 7 September 1911, police arrested and jailed him on suspicion of aiding and abetting the theft of the Mona Lisa and a number of Egyptian statuettes from the Louvre,[1][7] but released him a week later. The theft of the statues was committed by a former secretary of Apollinaire, Honoré Joseph Géry Pieret, who had returned one of the stolen statues to the French newspaper the Paris-Journal. Apollinaire implicated his friend Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning in the theft of the Mona Lisa, but he was also exonerated.[8] The theft of the Mona Lisa was perpetrated by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian house painter who acted alone and was only caught two years later when he tried to sell the painting in Florence.

Cubism

Jean Metzinger, 1911, Étude pour le portrait de Guillaume Apollinaire, graphite on paper, 48 × 31.2 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Jean Metzinger, 1911, Étude pour le portrait de Guillaume Apollinaire, graphite on paper, 48 × 31.2 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Apollinaire wrote the preface for the first Cubist exposition outside of Paris; VIII Salon des Indépendants, Brussels, 1911.[9] In an open-handed preface to the catalogue of the Brussels Indépendants show, Apollinaire stated that these 'new painters' accepted the name of Cubists which has been given to them. He described Cubism as a new manifestation and high art [manifestation nouvelle et très élevée de l'art], not a system that constrains talent [non-point un système contraignant les talents], and the differences which characterize not only the talents but even the styles of these artists are an obvious proof of this.[10][11] The artists involved with this new movement, according to Apollinaire, included Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger, and Henri Le Fauconnier.[12] By 1912 others had joined the Cubists: Jacques Villon, Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Francis Picabia, Juan Gris, and Roger de La Fresnaye, among them.[10][13][14][15]

Orphism

The term Orphism was coined by Apollinaire at the Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912, referring to the works of Robert Delaunay and František Kupka. During his lecture at the Section d'Or exhibit Apollinaire presented three of Kupka's abstract works as perfect examples of pure painting, as anti-figurative as music.[14]

In Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques (1913) Apollinaire described Orphism as "the art of painting new totalities with elements that the artist does not take from visual reality, but creates entirely by himself. [...] An Orphic painter's works should convey an untroubled aesthetic pleasure, but at the same time a meaningful structure and sublime significance. According to Apollinaire Orphism represented a move towards a completely new art-form, much as music was to literature.[16]

Surrealism

The term Surrealism was first used by Apollinaire concerning the ballet Parade in 1917. The poet Arthur Rimbaud wanted to be a visionary, to perceive the hidden side of things within the realm of another reality. In continuity with Rimbaud, Apollinaire went in search of a hidden and mysterious reality. The term "surrealism" appeared for the first time in March 1917 (Chronologie de Dada et du surréalisme, 1917) in a letter by Apollinaire to Paul Dermée: "All things considered, I think in fact it is better to adopt surrealism than supernaturalism, which I first used" [Tout bien examiné, je crois en effet qu'il vaut mieux adopter surréalisme que surnaturalisme que j'avais d'abord employé].[17]

He described Parade as "a kind of surrealism" (une sorte de surréalisme) when he wrote the program note the following week, thus coining the word three years before Surrealism emerged as an art movement in Paris.[18]

World War I

Apollinaire fought in World War I and, in 1916, received a serious shrapnel wound to the temple, from which he would never fully recover.[2] He wrote Les Mamelles de Tirésias while recovering from this wound. During this period he coined the word "Surrealism" in the programme notes for Jean Cocteau's and Erik Satie's ballet Parade, first performed on 18 May 1917. He also published an artistic manifesto, L'Esprit nouveau et les poètes. Apollinaire's status as a literary critic is most famous and influential in his recognition of the Marquis de Sade, whose works were for a long time obscure, yet arising in popularity as an influence upon the Dada and Surrealist art movements going on in Montparnasse at the beginning of the twentieth century as, "The freest spirit that ever existed."

The war-weakened Apollinaire died of influenza during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.[2] He was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

Works

In 1900 he wrote his first novel Mirely, ou le petit trou pas cher (pornographic), which was eventually lost.[2] Apollinaire's first collection of poetry was L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909), but Alcools (1913) established his reputation. The poems, influenced in part by the Symbolists, juxtapose the old and the new, combining traditional poetic forms with modern imagery. In 1913, Apollinaire published the essay Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques on the Cubist painters, a movement which he helped to define. He also coined the term orphism to describe a tendency towards absolute abstraction in the paintings of Robert Delaunay and others.

In 1907 Apollinaire published the well-known erotic novel, The Eleven Thousand Rods (Les Onze Mille Verges).[19][20] Officially banned in France until 1970, various printings of it circulated widely for many years. Apollinaire never publicly acknowledged authorship of the novel. Another erotic novel attributed to him was The Exploits of a Young Don Juan (Les exploits d'un jeune Don Juan), in which the 15-year-old hero fathers three children with various members of his entourage, including his aunt.[21][22] Apollinaire's gift to Picasso of the original 1907 manuscript was one of the artist's most prized possessions.[23] The book was made into a movie in 1987.

Shortly after his death, Mercure de France published Calligrammes, a collection of his concrete poetry (poetry in which typography and layout adds to the overall effect), and more orthodox, though still modernist poems informed by Apollinaire's experiences in the First World War and in which he often used the technique of automatic writing.

In his youth Apollinaire lived for a short while in Belgium, mastering the Walloon dialect sufficiently to write poetry, some of which has survived.

Poetry

  • Le Bestiaire ou Cortège d'Orphée, 1911
  • Alcools, 1913
  • Vitam impendere amori, 1917
  • Calligrammes, poèmes de la paix et de la guerre 1913–1916, 1918 (published shortly after Apollinaire's death)
  • Il y a..., Albert Messein, 1925
  • Julie ou la rose, 1927
  • Ombre de mon amour, poems addressed to Louise de Coligny-Châtillon, 1947
  • Poèmes secrets à Madeleine, pirated edition, 1949
  • Le Guetteur mélancolique, previously unpublished works, 1952
  • Poèmes à Lou, 1955
  • Soldes, previously unpublished works, 1985
  • Et moi aussi je suis peintre, album of drawings for Calligrammes, from a private collection, published 2006

Fiction

Plays

  • Les Mamelles de Tirésias, play, 1917
  • La Bréhatine, screenplay (collaboration with André Billy), 1917
  • Couleurs du temps, 1918
  • Casanova, published 1952

Articles

  • Le Théâtre Italien, illustrated encyclopedia, 1910
  • Preface, Catalogue of 8th Salon annuel du Cercle d'art Les Indépendants, Musée moderne de Bruxelles, 10 June – 3 July 1911.
  • La Vie anecdotique, Chroniques dans Le Mercure de France, 1911–1918
  • Pages d'histoire, chronique des grands siècles de France, chronicles, 1912
  • Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques, 1913
  • La Peinture moderne, 1913
  • L'Antitradition futuriste, manifeste synthèse, 1913
  • Jean Metzinger à la Galerie Weill, Chroniques d'art de Guillaume Apollinaire, L'Intransigeant, Paris Journal, 27 May 1914
  • Case d'Armons, 1915
  • L'esprit nouveau et les poètes, 1918
  • Le Flâneur des Deux Rives, chronicles, 1918

In popular culture

Apollinaire is played by Seth Gabel in the 2018 television series Genius, which focuses on the life and work of Pablo Picasso.

See also

References and sources

References
  1. ^ a b "Газетные "старости" (Архив)". Starosti.ru. 9 January 1907. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d John Baxter (10 February 2009). Carnal Knowledge: Baxter's Concise Encyclopedia of Modern Sex. HarperCollins. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-06-087434-6. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  3. ^ Claude Schumacher, Alfred Jarry and Guillaume Apollinaire, Modern Dramatists, Macmillan International Higher Education, 1984, pp. 4, 14, 23, 148, 168, ISBN 1349173282
  4. ^ Jean Metzinger, 1910, Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire, Christie's Paris, 2007.
  5. ^ La Section d'Or, Numéro spécial, 9 Octobre 1912.
  6. ^ The History and Chronology of Cubism, p. 5.
  7. ^ "Un homme de lettres connu est arrêté comme recéleur", Le Petit Parisien, 9 September 1911 (in French).
  8. ^ Richard Lacayo, "Art's Great Whodunit: The Mona Lisa Theft of 1911", Time, 27 April 2009.
  9. ^ Préface, in Catalogue du 8e Salon annuel du Cercle d'art Les Indépendants, Musée moderne de Bruxelles, 10 June – 3 July 1911.
  10. ^ a b Douglas Cooper, 1971, Douglas Cooper, The Cubist Epoch, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y., 1970, p. 97
  11. ^ Françoise Roberts-Jones, Chronique d'un musée: Musée royal des beaux-arts de Belgique, Bruxelles.
  12. ^ Daniel Robbins, 1985, Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, Jean Metzinger: At the Center of Cubism, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, J. Paul Getty Trust, University of Washington Press, pp. 9–23
  13. ^ Les peintres Cubistes. Première série / Guillaume Apollinaire, Méditations esthétiques, Watsonline, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Catalog of the Libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  14. ^ a b Guillaume Apollinaire, Les Peintres Cubistes (The Cubist Painters) published in 1913, Peter Read (Translator), University of California Press, 25 October 2004
  15. ^ Herschel Browning Chipp, Peter Selz, Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics, University of California Press, 1968, pp. 221–248, ISBN 0-520-01450-2
  16. ^ Hajo Düchting, Orphism, MoMA, From Grove Art Online, 2009 Oxford University Press.
  17. ^ Jean-Paul Clébert, Dictionnaire du surréalisme, A.T.P. & Le Seuil, Chamalières, p. 17, 1996.
  18. ^ Hargrove, Nancy (1998). "The Great Parade: Cocteau, Picasso, Satie, Massine, Diaghilev—and T.S. Eliot". Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 31 (1)
  19. ^ Patrick J. Kearney, A History of Erotic Literature, 1982, pp. 163–164
  20. ^ Karín Lesnik-Oberstein, The last taboo: women and body hair, Manchester University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-7190-7500-9, p.94
  21. ^ Neil Cornwell, The Absurd in Literature, Manchester University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-7190-7410-X, pp.86–87
  22. ^ Roger Shattuck, The Banquet Years: the arts in France, 1885–1918: Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, Guillaume Apollinaire, Doubleday, 1961, p. 268.
  23. ^ Golding, John (1994). Visions of the Modern. p. 109. ISBN 0520087925.
  24. ^ Action: Cahiers Individualistes De Philosophie Et D’art, October 1920, Blue Mountain Project, Princeton University
Sources
  • Apollinaire, Marcel Adéma, 1954
  • Apollinaire, Poet among the Painters, Francis Steegmuller, 1963, 1971, 1973
  • Apollinaire, M. Davies, 1964
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, S. Bates, 1967
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, P. Adéma, 1968
  • The Banquet Years, Roger Shattuck, 1968
  • Apollinaire, R. Couffignal, 1975
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, L.C. Breuning, 1980
  • Reading Apollinaire, T. Mathews, 1987
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, J. Grimm, 1993

External links

This page was last edited on 1 April 2019, at 18:59
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