Parler seul (Speaking Alone), 1948–50

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Tristan Tzara wrote Parler seul, or Speaking Alone, while recovering from mental exhaustion at a psychiatric hospital in Lozère, France, in the summer of 1945. World War II (1939–1945) had forced the Jewish poet into hiding, his wife wanted a separation, and many of his avant-garde colleagues had left Paris. Tzara’s love of experimental wordplay was intact in this work, however, and that spirit is paralleled visually in Joan Miró’s exuberant and colorful illustrations. Miró used circles, stars, stick figures, and fat brushstrokes to illuminate the twenty-four poems in the book—seventy-two lithographs in all. The text takes a sympathetic view of mental illness and Tzara appears to have dedicated some of these poems to the hospital’s patients.

Parler seul (Speaking Alone)
Artist Life
15-1/16 x 11-3/8 in.
Accession Number
William P. Kosmas, London, England (d. 2017); Estate of William P. Kosmas, Minneapolis; given to MIA, 2018.
Catalogue Raisonne
Cramer 17
Curator Approved

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