[Pavel Tchelitchew, Russian surrealist painter.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Pavel') to 'My dear, dear Sweet Stephen' [Stephen Tennant?], regarding his love of Italy, theatre design in America, Lincoln Kirstein and Osbert Sitwell.

Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957), Russian émigré surrealist painter, set designer and costume designer [Lincoln Kirstein; Osbert Sitwell; Stephen Tennant]
Publication details: 
'Lecourbe 43 – 65, 2 rue Jacques Mawas, Paris.' 23 April 1953.
SKU: 21050

2pp., 4to. Aged and worn, but legible. A splendid effervescent letter, highly characteristic, written in demotic English in a close unruly hand. Tchelitchew was a close friend (lover?) of Edith Sitwell, and in addition to her brother Osbert, the letter contains references to Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996), influential figure in New York culture, founder with George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, and the book he was writing on Tchelitchew, as well as to Tchelitchew's partner the writer Charles Henry Ford (1908-2002). (Kirstein had published a book on Tchelitchew's drawings in 1947, and would exhibition on him, with catalogue, in 1964, but the book discussed in the letter was not published.) The letter begins: 'My dear, dear Sweet Stephen, | We arrived here few days ago from Rome – had most apauling [sic] weather on the way. After 2 montsh of heavenly, hot divine italian weather in the middst [sic] of the sublime landscape – of “Castelli Romani” […] We lived in mddst of most lovely Corot [?] I love italy – I think I am in love with Italy – whatever she is!!! It is my real true love . . . . Dear Dear Stephen'. He would love him to visit, 'but helas, we have no more a house there we have only very vague planes [sic] about how and where to spend our Winter as I don't think I will be able to spend it in Paris: the weather is too awful here in winter and it is all so grey: and people are so [?]'. He returns to his love of 'italian beauty, loveliness, gayety “and forgetfullness”. They are like the Cats: they attach themselves to you and - - - forget you as quick!' He thanks heavens that there are 'english people in the World – they are the best friends one can have – faithful loyal – even when one doesnt see each other for years as you and geoffrey'. He compliments his appearance in 'your photos – you are looking very well and I think it is better to gain some weight (as I try to do myself – when one is too thin one has no physical resistance at all and all life is such terrible physical struggle'. He himself has 'no physical force at all – onely my poor nerves – as you know - - - - -'. The second page begins: 'Paris put on for us her most lovely april weather! - simply amazing – divine – faces are more smiling. Senses more elegant, boys have sensitife [aphroddisiacly?] hunted Faces – so like so to [?] the “Animal beauty2 of Italy, so refined so sensitif too.' Regarding Stephen's 'drawings to exhibit in N. Y.' he suggests he write to 'Edwin Hewitt gallery (friend of Lincoln Kirstein and Osbert Sitwell) […] If Osbert could write about you to him – you'll be sure to have a show there. Galleries are very difficult to obtain, especially for drawings'. He bemoans the 'Abstract Fashion', and complains that Kirstein is 'too busy being the director of City Center Opera and Ballet etc etc – he is very important big figure “now – I am awaiting for the book on me” - he is writing to appear sometimes during next year! He writes it all ready for two years – but being all time distracted, he is too busy – he probably will succede this year! I wouldn't bother about him, nor can you expect any commission in the Theater in U.S.A. as for that you have to belong to a Scenic Designers Union – pay $500 initial fee' $10 a month % on all commissions, but before all – you have to succede in passing a very complicated examination, full of mathematical perspectives etc. which I am afraid you are not too well acquainted with and it would be a terrible task to learn it all'. Tchelitchew 'left this wretched Union myself, as the theater in U.S.A. does not interest me at all – it is all so commercial – not like Europe.' He continues: 'Stephen dear what are your planes about this Spring and Summer. I am trying to show my new work. Paris as far as people and their work goes – is not more the City we knew – it is like a city filled with flys in September'. The letter concludes, with text upside-down, at the head of the first page: 'I suppose it was really allways that way, onely we were different – now we see it, as it is . . . so let me know all about you – and please send all you can photograph of my work in your possession here – it will be wonderful and Linc. Kirstein will be very pleased too. | love from Charles and from me – as ever | Pavel'. See "Edith Sitwell: Avant garde poet, English genius" By Richard Greene for background (and foreground).