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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Can anyone here give me a hyperlink to a drawing by Marie Vassilieff depicting her pushing Amedeo Modigliani down a flight of stairs?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17259points) November 30th, 2013

It’s supposed to be quite a famous work. I’ve never heard of it until tonight, can’t find it and, because she was a cubist, I may not even know it if I ever do. And I don’t know the name of the work. Anyone?

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19 Answers

janbb's avatar

I wonder if this is the incident you mean?

“Within days of her arrival in Paris in 1907, Russian-born MARIE VASSILIEFF (1884–1957) was wooed by a little old man with bad breath. He turned out to be the painter Henri Rousseau, and his poor oral hygiene caused Vassilieff to turn down his offer of marriage. Rousseau’s loss was Montparnasse’s gain: a talented painter and sculptor in her own right, Vassilieff is best remembered as the proprietress of a canteen/soup kitchen she opened to feed expat artists during World War I. The canteen became a clubhouse and salon, where genius, temperament, and ego combined in a volatile mix. Consider the infamous dinner held there in honor of Georges Braque’s army discharge in January 1917. The guests, including Matisse and Picasso, were preparing to dine on roast turkey when an uninvited Modigliani burst into the room. His ex-girlfriend’s jealous new lover pulled a gun — so the petite Vassilieff saved Modigliani’s life by pushing him out the door. No wonder Tsuguharu Foujita, a Japanese artist on the scene, proclaimed that “The name of Marie Vassilieff will remain in the history of Montparnasse.””

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Right. That’s the incident. Marie was about 4’11, Modigliani was 6’. He wasn’t handling the recent breakup with writer/poet Beatrice Hastings very well and when he got drunk during this period he became volatile. So, Vassilieff was throwing one of her many private parties and invited Picasso, Braque, Hastings, and just about everybody else in Montparnasse up to her atelier, except Modigliani. He got word of it, got loaded, and crashed the party as you describe above. Vassilieff is said to stand up to him when he began threatening Hastings and she (Vassilieff) pushed Modigliani out the door and literally kicked him down the stairs. The guys “helped” by locking the apartment door after Marie came back upstairs, even though these artists had taken to carrying loaded pistols to emulate Les Apaches, the young Parisian pimps/gangsters of the time (They thought this was cool). They weren’t very well versed in firearms, not even Braque, who was recently badly injured as a canoneer. Later, Vassilieff is said to have seen the humor in it all, made a drawing to immortalize the incident. I can’t find the drawing anywhere. It has to be out there.

janbb's avatar

Hmm – Will cherche some more. Parentheticaly, I was just staying for a week in a hotel in Montmartre right next to the Bateau Lavoir.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Je suis, en ce moment, de se vautrer dans une mer d’envie. (Merci, ma ami.)

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ Psst. Mon amie or ma belle amie

Beware of these mot å mot translations. You end up with some amazingly muddled sentences, works of art themselves sometimes.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ This bloody language! So beautiful and so difficult—even with a translator. Thank you.

gailcalled's avatar

If you try to say ma ami aloud, it comes out like Mammy. So the French make sure that the lead vowel in “ami” is next to the n of mon.

Je meurs d’envie. I am dying of envy.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ Got it. I actually thought about that but, after our last lesson, I thought mon would be the masculine form. Ok. Got it.

BTW, have you ever heard of this piece we’re discussing here? (I was hoping you would show up. A francophile might be useful here.)

gailcalled's avatar

I have not but enjoyed the descriptions provided by Jan and you. Terrific story.

janbb's avatar

We need an online French meet-up! I learn things from Gail all the time. (Actually, there is a French conversational meet-up in my area but I got a bit intimidated by it.)

gailcalled's avatar

Imagine how much more you would learn from a native speaker. If your local meet-up is led by or has some native speakers, forget being intimidated, just attend for the accent.

I get a lot of French movies on DVD’s from my library. (is there a library near-by for you to use?) I will watch it twice, the first time for the story and the second for the language. It’s a good way to learn the idioms.

hearkat's avatar

The drawing is titled “Le banquet de Braque” but I can not find an image online. Apparently, there is an image of it in this book as noted in the references. I’m now behind schedule meeting friends for brunch… perhaps someone else will be able to find more from this information.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@hearkat Thank you very much, the name helped a lot. I found Le Banquet de Braque Yes, this would be it, now that I’ve re-read the description. There is a guy in the upper left away from the others throwing a tantrum and yelling. A woman at table who looks very embarrassed across from a man standing and pointing a gun at the tantrumiste. Everyone else seems to be occupied with having a good time and unaware of the scene unfolding in the room. This looks like the event, for sure. I was searching for a drawing depicting a woman kicking a man with dark, longish hair down some stairs. Thank you very much, hearkat, janbb, and gailcalled,. I hope this was as much fun for you as it was for me. Great story.

gailcalled's avatar

—This is why I love fluther, (other than advice on my latest crush)

Another interesting problem with the French language is when I want to refer to several people, both men and women, as my friends. I have to say mes amis and un de mes amis, even if I am referring to 20 women and one masculine crow. The masculine form is the default. (Typical of the French, wouldn’t you say?)

janbb's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus We will sail up the Seine to the Bateau Lavoir someday.

flutherother's avatar

Here’s a larger version of the drawing. It’s also labelled if you put your cursor over each head.

gailcalled's avatar

@flutherother: recherche formidable. That certainly made my day, including learning the French for stump.

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