Pound’s first encounter with Gaudier-Brzeska gives a clue as to why Pound was attracted to him as a person as well as an artist. Pound and a friend were standing in front of one of Gaudier-Brzeska’s works at a public exhibition. Pound was admiring the work but stumbling over the pronunciation of its creator’s name when a young man, looking “like a well-made young wolf or some soft-moving, bright-eyed wild thing,” appeared out from behind a pedestal and, “speaking with the gentlest fury in the world,” pronounced the name, identified himself as the sculptor, and then “disappeared like a Greek god in a vision.”
Gaudier-Brzeska combined many of the qualities Pound sought in both art and life: energy, daring, passion, intelligence, and precision. Those who knew him testify in the memoir that Gaudier-Brzeska was the most fully alive person they had ever met, symbolized for many by the amazing intensity of his piercing eyes. So poor that he could not afford to buy stone to sculpt, he nevertheless celebrated the life he had and desired no other.
Gaudier-Brzeska’s genius was that he was able to infuse his personal qualities into his art. Energy, precision, intellect, and experimentation with form were qualities Pound was trying to get into his own poetry at the time, and they excited him when he found it in the work of others. In Gaudier-Brzeska he found a young artist of limitless promise.
Gaudier-Brzeska, just past...
(The entire section is 1306 words.)
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