2 February 1921

2 February 1921

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

Already, just with the idea of you coming Ive seen you on the terrace - the three of us, talking. Ive packed the picnic basket & weve gone off for the day. Lunch under the olive trees . . .  and so on . . . Richard dear, it will be awful if it doesn't come true! We must make it. Jack has a scheme to meet you in Paris & convey you to and from the Louvre on your way.

Well. I now come to your Letter II containing your photograph. I love having it. You have, as Koteliansky used to say, an "extremely nice face", Richard. Being fond of you as I am I read into it all sorts of signs of the future painter . . . I believe they are all there.

My honest opinion is that if there is a person going on the right lines - you are he. I can't tell you how right I feel you are. It seems to me like this. Here is painting, and here is life. We can't separate them. Both of them have suffered an upheaval extraordinary in the last few years. there is a kind of tremendous agitation going on still. but so far anything that has come to the surface seems to have been experimental or a fluke - a lucky accident. I believe the only way to live as artists under these new conditions in art and life is to put everything to the test for ourselves. We've got, in the long run, to be our own teachers. There's no getting away from that. We've got to win through by ourselves. Well, as I see it, the only way to do that honestly, dead truthfully, shirking nothing and leaving nothing out, is to put everything to the test. (Your desire for technical knowledge is a kind of profound symbol.) Not only to face things, but really to find out of what they are composed. How can we prevent ourselves being weak in certain places? To be thorough, to be honest, I think if artists wre really thorough & honest they would save the world. Is the lack of those things & the reverse of them that [are] putting a deadly blight on life. Good work takes upon itself a Life - bad work has death in it.

[Letter to Richard Murry in Collected Letters, 3 February 1921]