POULENC Francis - Autograph Letter Signed to Nina Hamnett with news and gossip
Francis POULENC (1899-1963)Autograph Letter Signed (“Poulenc”) to “amour de Nina” [Welsh artist and “Queen of Bohemia” Nina Hamnett], a friendly and playful letter about some photographs, friends, and suggesting an article on Stravinsky for the magazine Apollo.
2 pages 4to in French, La Lézardière, Nazelles, Indre et Loire, n.d. [1920s].
Trans: “Here at last are the photos I promised – I wanted to have them all enlarged but unfortunately I mislaid a pack of negatives. I think it must have been left at Francois’. I will ask him for them. Thank you for the “Guiges” which I like very much. The Rieti [Italian composer Vittorio Rieti and his wife] came to see me on 15 August. They are really very nice and we had some good times together. I am working a great deal. I am writing a Sonata for piano and violin. I hope that you rich and elegant Ladies will make me come to London next Spring – I am writing from Touraine where I am living with my aunt Lienard. She has a great deal to say to you and hopes you will visit her in Cannes this winter.
I am glad to hear that your work is going well. How many pounds do you think the director of Apollo would pay me for an article on Stravinsky (his latest works). Try to arrange that, you would be an angel. Your drawings were extremely well reproduced. Have you seen Gracey, Tony, Kit and Pila? Write to me to tell me whether you like my photographs.
I kiss you“
In a postscript he adds “Your photos cause a revolution among those who look at my album; your socks dazzle them.”
The letter evidently dates from the 1920s, a time when the style of Poulenc’s compositions was frequently as playful as the tone of this letter. Poulenc heard Vittorio Rieti’s music in Paris in the mid-1920s, and helped to arrange a meeting between Rieti and Diaghilev, which led to Rieti composing for the Ballets Russes, for whom Poulenc had earlier composed Les Biches.
Poulenc and Nina Hamnett, a talented painter who was very much at the centre of artistic life in Paris in the 1920s, had numerous friends in common, including Stravinsky, Cocteau and Diaghilev. Hamnett also painted Poulenc’s portrait, and her free-spirited personality undoubtedly appealed to Poulenc.
It is unclear whether Poulenc did write an article on Stravinsky for Apollo magazine. Stravinsky had been helpful early in Poulenc’s career, for which Poulenc remained grateful, as well as being a great admirer of the Russian composer’s work.
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