Tristan Tzara

1896 (Moineşti, Romania) – 1963 (Paris)

Ball was Tzara’s co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich: Richter, Hemmings, Arp, Eggeling, Janco and Huelsenbeck were all prominent participants. Tzara joined Breton, Soupault and Aragon in Paris, in first Dada then surrealist activities. Tzara behaved well when Picabia took him to the Steins’. Dos Passos found himself picking up his café bill, and Bowles commented on his collection of African masks. Lissitzky and van Doesburg joined Tzara for a final Dada reunion in Germany, while Péret, Éluard and he joined a Dada excursion in France.

Hugo Ball

1886 (Pirmasens, Germany) – 1927 (Sant'Abbondio, Switzerland)

Ball knew Huelsenbeck from a Berlin poet’s café. He spent time with Wedekind, and put on some of his plays. He met Hennings, who married him, in Munich, where he also studied with Reinhardt. Kandinsky designed a Blaue Reiter almanac together with him. He met Arp, Janco and Tzara when they moved to Zürich, and got them (with Hennings) involved in his Cabaret Voltaire. In later life he formed a close friendship with his neighbour Hesse (and wrote Hesse’s biography). Huelsenbeck visited the ascetic and penniless Ball frequently in his last few weeks, and helped bury him.