VII. Europe Again:
With Albert Gleizes, Paul Burlin, Natalie Curtis, 1921

. . . Departing from Chicago on August 3, Alice Klauber arrived in France on September 5, 1921. It was her third trip to Europe and she remained until the spring of 1924. A wide circle of friends and acquaintances seemed to share the adventure with her. On September 11, Mrs. Walter Pach called and Alice spent an hour with them until they left for Germany. She found Walter feeling happier and “better rounded off’ than when she had known him earlier. She, also, acquired five Oriental prints by Hiroshige for her growing personal collection.

. . . Natalie Curtis, among Alice’s closest friends, joined her on various occasions for lunch or sight seeing. During the year Alice and Natalie participated in an International Congress of Art that convened at the Sorbonne, the University of Paris. While the Belgian delegation had 75 delegates, America by contrast, had only four. Miss Klauber was the secretary of the American delegation that included Natalie, herself, Harvard music professor Edward Burlingame Hill, and painter Cecilia Beaux, 1853-1942. Robert de Forest, the chairman of the American contingent, for unknown reasons, failed to show. Natalie’s paper was on Native American Folk Music that some scholars denied existed in musical styles. 46 They accepted a thesis that excluded any other than European influences. Her paper, including singing of Indian songs and Negro tunes, generated great enthusiasm among European scholars in attendance, according to her own testimony. Professor Hill’s paper had taken an opposing viewpoint to the question, “Does America have any folk music?” Feeling some animosity on the part of Hill and in order not to create hard feelings, she had almost withdrawn but officials insisted otherwise. They informed her “that precisely this subject of American folk music was new and interesting, and they wanted to hear it.” Natalie’s presentation, in French, included “singing Indian songs about the American maize, the big hot sun that rides his turquoise horse across over the Rocky Mountains, those chants that have come out of America itself.” She furthered argued that the music of “millions of Negroes who were good enough ‘Americans’ to die for American ideals in our wars,…, loyal and unhyphenated Americans,…whose songs’ echo stabilizing of our cotton industry, our tobacco industry, our American output,…generally are the voice of our South.” Her audience apparently was fascinated and Natalie was pleased by the audience reaction. That Natalie had presented her research paper in French, also, provided a pleasant surprise to the European attendees. Juliette Gleizes had helped her prepare for the presentation. Natalie was pleased with her presentation and its acceptance. On October 2, Alice mentioned that she went to the studio of the Gleizes and had a very interesting evening with them. Other details of Natalie’s presentation and listener response remain vague. Miss Klauber, also, may have addressed the conference because the list of American participants was so limited and she had been encouraged to do so.

. . . At 12:45 A.M., October 24, Miss Klauber was called to the phone. The hotel notified her that Natalie had been hurt in an accident. Miss Klauber took a cab to the hospital to be with her, and within an hour she phoned Natalie’s husband and Mrs. Albert Gleizes, who arrived about 4, to inform them that Natalie had died. Alice arranged Natalie’s hair and flowers in the room and stayed until Paul Burlin arrived. Her death was caused by fatal injuries incurred when she stepped from a bus into the path of a speeding car driven by a physician responding to a patient’s urgent call. French officials had contacted Miss Klauber after discovering that they were close friends. She assisted in whatever way possible until Burlin arrived.

. . . Paul Burlin, 1886-1969, was a well known American painter who worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 1913 to 1920. He was among the first American artists to participate in the landmark New York Armory Show in 1913, and the first major modern painter of his generation to settle and paint in New Mexico. It was during those years that he met and married Natalie Curtis in 1917. The Burlins moved to France in 1921 hoping for a better reception of Paul’s art by critics than he received in America. He was to work there for the next twelve years.

. . . Of great comfort and assistance to Burlin and Miss Klauber were the French artist Albert Gleizes, 1881-1953, and his wife Juliette. Mrs. Gleizes took charge according to Miss Klauber noting in her journal, “Mrs. Gleizes was all business like and very capable and kind. What a wonderful person.” Albert Gleizes was one of those young art rebels of Paris who became identified with the Cubist Movement. 47 With Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, co-founder of Cubism and with Jean Metzinger, 1883-1956, he published a manifesto, Le Cubisme, a year earlier. From 1915 to 1919, Gleizes worked in the United States, subsequently returning to France for the remainder of his life. Gleizes apparently had a way with words, not only as a writer, but also as a speaker. In her account of Natalie’s services on October 31, she wrote that Albert Gleizes had read from some appropriate literature. The French artist and his wife opened their home, also, for Paul during those dark days.

. . . Focusing on her continued travels when things calmed down, Miss Klauber left France with heavy heart and headed for Italy and northern Europe visiting sites she had first visited almost a decade earlier. By January 20, 1922, she was in Florence where she settled and joined a library, painted, went sight seeing, and met acquaintances from home from time to time. At this time she was momentarily toying with the idea of settling permanently in the Flower City of the Renaissance for in her journal one reads; “I want the distractions which somehow aide and abet a desultory aimless and sightseeing life…If I can learn to live anywhere, why not here?” Despite a sore throat and a cold she seemed to be caught up in the excitement of the visit and the revisiting of places of fond recollections. Her sensibilities had been refined through years of experience as she commented on works of art gracing the walls of such galleries as the Pitti. Here she mentioned seeing the works of Titian as meritorious, then further adding: “Chase, Sargent and other English self-portraits are amazing in their shallow poverty, Just cleverness and to no avail.” This is something of an unusual critique from her considering that Chase was among her first teachers with whom she had studied in Europe on her first study trip in 1907. Perhaps it was a reflection of her development in connoisseurship.

. . . In April during Holy Week, Miss Klauber traveled to Rome as well as Milan, Siena, and into Switzerland. By the month’s end she was in Wiesbaden, Germany, recuperating from a cold and trying the city’s famous baths. On May 12, she settled in Munich where she began to work on etching. Side trips were spent in Oberammergau and Weimar. Pleasant impressions of Munich are recorded in her journals… “The free out of door life; the athletic and youthful quality; the bicycles; the dearth of autos; the church bells…otherwise no sound but that of running water; the frequency of summer rains! Compared with Paris and Florence, the other two cities where I’ve stayed longer, this impresses me as having a future. It is also an art city.” Enchanted by its cultural milieu, she attended the first concert in the Brahm’s Festival, March 17. Opera seemed to attract her in many of the cultural centers she visited on her tours. She mentions attending Der Rheingold in Paris, “a bad Faust and mediocre Margarite” in Budapest, Taunhouser and Fledermaus in Milan, and Mignon in Nice. She, also, sketched at the Glyptotek.

. . . During the following months Miss Klauber visited Wien, Lichtenstein where she found the gallery disappointing, Prague and Dresden. “One of the real thrills,” she experienced abroad during this visit was viewing the cities of Buda -Pesth (Budapest). Probably because of the somber moments she had experienced during the trip Miss Klauber penned a short hymn of praise:

“I thank Thee Lord
For Thy greatest gift to me
Of earth and sky and sea;
And for that other gift
That bids me live,
Lord let me make return
(Though it be fugitive)
Of Praise continually.
Oh let my spirit free
Adoring Thee!”

. . . Visiting Prague in September afforded her the opportunity to visit her parents’ homeland. In October, settled in Dresden, Miss Klauber acquired “very fine and very expensive” Japanese prints for her collection. Complaining of a headache while in Innsbruck and Garmish, and a sore throat later, she limited her social activities. Serious injury might have resulted from a fall down a flight of stairs in November but was dismissed as not serious in her opinion. She simply picked herself up and got along with it; “I arranged my hair and ate a good lunch.” In London, intending to spend the remainder of 1922, she returned to Arles, France, by December 31.


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