Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recherches du Satie et Valadon

Satie around the time of the affair with Valadon - he
started going bald early but he was rather cute in his
younger days

Recently I bought a biography of Erik Satie, by Pierre-Daniel Templier in order to do research for my play about the brief relationship between him and Suzanne Valadon, but was very disappointed by it. It had some very interesting details about the life and work of Satie, and reproduced the portrait that Valadon painted of Satie, but it mentions her by name not at all and only refers to her once:
A romantic affair he had with a young girl artist brought him closer still to the world of painters.
She's not named, someone on the Internet claims (I don't remember where) because the book was originally published when Valadon was still alive. She died in 1938.

It seems there is a graphic novel about Satie out there.

I suppose if I want real information about their relationship I will have to shell out 77 bucks to buy Correspondance presque complete (Almost Complete Letters) of Satie. It was published in 2000 and it still isn't translated into English yet. I guess I'm going to have to be the one to do the translation myself. In about a year I'll be fluent enough in French to do a good job of it.

The book includes this letter from Satie to Valadon: 
Cher petit Biqui            
Impossiblede rester sans penser à tout            
ton être ; tu es en moi toute entière ; partout            
je ne vois que tes yeux            
exquis, tes mains douces            
et tes petits pieds d’enfant.            
Toi tu es heureuse ; ce n’est pasma pauvre pensée qui ridera ton front transparent ;            non plus que l’ennui de ne point me voir.            
Pour moi il n’y a que la glacialesolitude qui met du vide dans la tête            
et de la tristesse plein le cœur.            
N’oublie pas que ton pauvre amiespère te voir au moins à un de ces trois rendez-vous :             
1° Ce soir à 9 heures moins le quart de chez moi            
2° Demain matin encore chez moi            
3° Demain soir chez Devé (Maison Olivier)J’ajoute, Biqui chéri, que je ne me mettrainullement en furie si tu ne peux venir à ces rendez-vous ;            
maintenant je suis devenu terriblement raisonnable ;            
et malgré            
le grand bonheur que j’ai à te voirje commence à comprendre que tu ne peux point toujours            
faire ce que tu veux.Tu vois, petit Biqui, qu’il y a commencement à tout.            
Je t’embrasse sur le cœur. 
Erik Satie

Which translates to (roughly)
Satie knew everybody in the Belle Epoque France
which is probably why there are so many paintings
and drawings of him in existence, including
one by Picasso. This one is by Casas. There are also lots of
photos of Satie especially from the early 20th century
Dear little Biqui
to stay without thinking about everything
            your being; you are in me entirely; all over
            I only see your eyes
            exquisite, your soft hands
            and your little child's feet.
            You are happy; it's not
my poor thought, which will make your transparent forehead wrinkle;
            nor the boredom of not seeing me.
            For me there is only the icy
solitude that puts a vacuum in the head
            and full heart sadness.
            Do not forget that your poor friend
hope to see you at least one of these three appointments:
            1 ° Tonight at 9 o'clock in the morning
            2 ° Tomorrow morning at home again
            3 ° Tomorrow evening at Devé (Maison Olivier)
I add, Biqui darling, that I will not put myself
not at all furious if you can not come to these appointments;
            now I have become terribly reasonable;
            and despite
            the great happiness I have to see you
I begin to understand that you can not always
            Do as you like.
You see, little Biqui, that there is a beginning in everything.
            I kiss you on the heart.
Erik Satie

There are many of images of Valadon too, but many of those are painted by herself.