"Ratapouf" 1914: Trois Poèmes by Fritz Vanderpyl

On November 11th 2014, I outed Fritz Venderpyl as the character known as "Ratapouf" in an early (1916) article by Jan Gordon.

I recently came across an early group of three poems by Vanderpyl in a 1914 edition of Mercure de France.


I like the first, "En Posant."

He asks who will be better remembered in two hundred years time, the painter or the poet?- a painting or a poem?

Qui des deux restera, mon vieux,
mon poème ou ta peinture?
Qui connaitra-t-on dans deux cent ans,
ton nom ou ma ronde figure?

I love the reference to his "round figure." Jan Gordon (1916) describes 'Ratapouf' as follows: "Ratapouf, globular, somewhat like a Billiken.."

A hundred years have now passed since the poem was published. Who was better remembered, painter or poet? We don't know who the painter in the poem was, but many of the painters from this Montparnasse community achieved great fame. Vanderpyl is still remembered, but perhaps mainly for his antisemitism. My grandparents, who met him in Paris in 1923, didn't like him at all.

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