‘Into the Labyrinth of Paris’

The first person he befriended was Max, a man who was also an exile (from Quimper, in Brittany) and who was also weighed down by multiple identities: not only was he a Frenchman but he was also a Breton, a poet, a homosexual, a Jew, and soon to be a Catholic; a man who, like Picasso, was anxiously, intensely seeking out new worlds. He was sensitive, empathic, devoted, available, fervent in his beliefs…

Max Jacob idolized Picasso from the outset — “I met Picasso; he told me I was a poet: this was the most important revelation of my life after the existence of God,” he would confide to one of his correspondents in 1931 — and for Picasso he would become a tutor, landlord, broker, representative, a man who would teach him French through the poems of Vigny and Verlaine, offer him his mattress, his tiny room, and what little money he had, who would even approach Parisian galleries and magazines on his friend Pablo’s behalf, to sell his drawings and illustrations.
(Sam Taylor’s translation)

Le premier d’entre eux, c’est Max, lui aussi exilé (de Quimper), lui aussi encombré d’identités multiples — français, breton, poète, homosexuel, juif et bientôt catholique —, lui aussi cumulateur de mondes, lui aussi lancé dans une recherche inquiète et intense. Il est sensible, empathique, convaincu, dévoué, disponible…

Pour Picasso — un génie que Max Jacob adule dès la première minute —, le Breton devient précepteur, logeur, courtier, représentant. Il lui enseigne le français à partir des poèmes de Vigny et de Verlaine, lui offre son matelas, sa pitance, sa chambre minuscule et prospecte même galeries et magazines parisiens pour vendre les dessins ou les illustrations de l’ami Pablo.
(Annie Cohen-Solal’s text)

(c) 2023 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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