Alfred Jarry

1873 (Laval, France) – 1907 (Paris)

Influential eccentric and pioneer absurdist. Gourmont produced a magazine with him. He encouraged Rousseau (who painted his portrait and briefly shared living quarters), introducing him to his literary friends. Apollinaire was a friend and sidekick — both destined to become key influences on following generations. He visited Gauguin in Pont-Aven, followed his friend Mallarmé’s cortège in cycling gear and yellow women’s shoes, met Salmon in a literary bar, and gave his pistol to Picasso, who wore it on nocturnal forays. He dedicated ‘Ubu Roi’ to his friend Schwob; Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard, and his close friend Bonnard all helped with the stage-set.

Alfred Jarry knew…