3 February 1921

3 February 1921

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

Well, (forgive me if Im dull, old boy) your longing for technical knowledge seems to me profoundly what an artist OUGHT to feel today. Its a kind of deep sign of the times - rather the Zeitgeist - thats the better word. Your generation & mine too has been 'put off' with imitations of the real thing and we're bound to react violently if we're sincere. This takes so long to write & it sounds so heavy. Have I conveyed what I mean to even? You see I too have a passion for technique. I have a passion for making the things into a whole if you know what I mean. Out of technique is born real style, I believe. There are no short cuts.

Look out! I mustn't get off the lines. Ive just read your last pages again. An aesthetic emotion is what we feel in front of a work of art - one doesn't feel an aesthetic emotiom about a thing, but about its artistic representation. Example: Richard Murry in front of Portrait of Madame Manet.

Oh Richard! Believe me! I think you're terribly right to feel as you do and not to pretend. Only, dear old boy, the price you pay for your honesty is you don't have any false thrills about the pose & the form & the vision. I don't mean the chaps in your class are insincere, but evidently you are coming to it in a different way. Don't forget that intellectually you are stages beyond the men you draw with. That makes you critical in a way its very rare to be when one is starting out.

But I wish you were not so far away. I wish the garden gate flew open for you often & that you came in & out & we talked - not as in London - more easily and more happily. I shall pin the sun into the sky for every day of your holiday and at night I shall arrange for a constant supply of the best moonlight.

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