February 19, 2007

Pascin's grave

"Il était toujours coiffé d'un chapeau de feutre rond et rigide dont la coiffe portait le timbre d'un grand spécialiste des "caps". Ce chapeau est inséparable de la silhouette de Pascin, tel que je le revois encore, entre les arbres du clos déjà doré par l'automne. Il venait quelquefois me rendre visite dans le petit village du Multien où j'habite depuis 30 ans. "
With this words begins the text hommage of Mac Orlan to his friend Pascin, one of the major painters of the the legendary artistic circles of Montparnasse.
Julius Mordecai Pincas, also known as Pascin, born in Bulgaria in March 1885. He suffers the tough education of his father, a rich merchant. He soon breaks away of his family and takes a new name, not wanting to hurt his father's huffiness. After studying in the art schools of Budapest and Vienna, Pascin, who is twenty years old, decides to leave in Paris. His skills in satirical drawings - he uses to work for the german review Simplicissimus - force respect and admiration. Inspired by the grotesque touch of Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec, Pascin outlines the parisian nights, frames his drawings with conceited and lewd bourgeois, with androgynous or young prostitutes, with madams and pimps.
As a travel lover (to United-States where he goes during War Word I, to Cuba and to Tunisia), Pascin outlines also sceneries of the everyday life, shows the poverty of the little people.
His all life, he loved two women Hermine, his wife, and Lucy, one of his models. Always seeking for compagny, Pascin gives parties which make the hapiness of his friends, goes out a lot, drinks a lot. He breaks with Hermine, can't forget Lucy, who got married after their story. Years passing by, Pascin locks himself in the part of the unrepentant rounder. The day before a new exhibition of his work, he gives a party and then locks himself in his atelier. He writes a last letter to Lucy, and commits suicide, the 2d of june 1930.

"Que les jeunes filles qui iront déposer une gerbe de lilas sur la tombe de Pascin se gardent bien de pleurer en esquissant la suprême génuflexion. Que la lumière de leur sourire se pose légèrement sur le tertre fleuri par d'autres mains. Que l'éternité de leur grâce adolescente se mêle à l'adieu quotidien de notre amitié." Thus closes out Mac Orlan's Tombeau de Pascin.

Currently, at the Librairie Loliée, you can find :
  • Pascin - Mac Orlan - Tombeau de Pascin, Textes et Prétextes, 1944, in-8. Edition with 8 original engravings of Pascin.

February 06, 2007

Maurice Sachs, the sum of the opposites

Talking about Maurice Sachs life is describing the journey of a man who kept himself in a tenuous stability, wriggling between two fires. He was both a priest and an atheist, a hustler and an idealist, a jewish and a Gestapo collaborator, a homosexual and a married man. Born in a jewish family of parisian jewelers, Maurice Sachs deserts soon this cocoon bourgeois for the real life. Loose ends, he is picked by a catholic and married couple. Sachs becomes catholic and go to the seminary. His sexual preferences prevent him to become a priest. He leaves France for the United Sates where he marries the daughter of a parish priest. He becomes then protestant and, soon, father of a newborn son. This parenthesis of social stability lasts six months. Sachs abandons woman and son and comes back in Paris with one of his lovers.

Thanks to his contacts, he is hired as a secretary by Cocteau. During this period, he meets Max Jacob, Reverdy, Gide. He publishes his first novels and encounters a little success. During the Second World War, he goes to Germany as a voluntary worker and offers his services to the Gestapo. He lives of games, collaborates without complex. «On ne trahit bien que ceux qu’on aime» he wrotes. Sachs, who saves a friend of his from an imminent arrestation, is eventually betrayed by another spy. Under arrest, he is incarcerated in a german jail. There, forced to emprisonment, Sachs writes his master work, Le Sabbat. At the end of the war, he is taken with other prisoners to Hambourg. Exhausted by three walking days, he refuses to go further and is shot down by a bullet in the scruff.

Le Sabbat
, autobiographical narration, recounts the dantesque itinary of a man who was both adulate and hated, unveils a open-hearted and talented writer who leads a tumultuous and miserable existence. Rare is a work so indivisible of his author.
Sources : http://www.seineetdanube.com - http://fr.wikipedia.org

Currently, at the Librairie Loliée you can find :

  • Sachs (Maurice) - Le Sabbat. Paris, Editions Corrêa, 1956.