Monday, November 06, 2006

Biederman Writes Bea from Paris

This morning, while Bea sleeps, I read correspondence from Charles Biederman.

In October 1936, Biederman moved to Paris where he rented an art studio for six months, “saw Gertrude Stein dragging her poodle down the street,” hobnobbed with Miro and Leger, met Mondrian, showed work to Pierre Matisse, and observed Picasso, on more than one occasion, drinking in a café. What a thrill to receive weekly letters full of wisecrack observations on the development of abstract art! The whole correspondence is worth publication, but that would be off-topic. Instead, here's a relevant snippet:

“In your last letter you said that – you know if I don’t want you I will say so – well, Beatrice, that supposes things, doesn’t it? In the first place, I’ve left New York and you, and we made no promises, as we both understood that such could not be the case. So, if and when I do return – I may live somewhere else in the States, that is, I’m thinking about it – I cannot possibly know how and where we will pick up where we left off. But this much I do know, that we are friends, and I hope always shall be, which is worth more than anything. Should I, on my return, wish it otherwise, I would, if I were you, prevent it for your own good. You are a person, a woman, whose only happiness it seems to me, can be in being married, etc., something I could not give you. Our association, physically, would soon terminate and, as has been my experience, the friendship between you and I might go with it. So that is what I think about it. By the way, why couldn’t you write me with your views about all this? You never were explicit …”

Unfortunately, Bea did not save copies of her own letters, so her response will remain a mystery.

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