Friends & Enemies of Wallace Stevens


"Wallace Stevens and Modern Art: Duchamp, Picasso, Matisse"

Wallace Stevens was deeply interested in the visual arts and naturally thought in terms of analogies between poetry and painting. In the 1910s he wrote his first mature, modernist poems as a member of the Arensberg circle, a group of poets and painters now known as the New York Dada movement. This experience established a pattern of close interaction with the art world that became essential to his creative process. After moving to Hartford he drew inspiration from the Wadsworth Atheneum which was the most modern museum in America during the 1930s. He famously identified with Picasso, the leader of modern art, in his breakthrough poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar.” Less well known is his equally serious interest in Matisse, Picasso's chief rival, whose example inspired Stevens throughout his career.

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