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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

water-colours sent back to France.   It is impossible
to find out the reasons for people buying pictures.
I had excellent criticisms and the pictures were very
bright and gay.   I have since sold them nearly all
and destroyed a few that I did not like.   It is really
the greatest mistake to destroy one's drawings or
paintings.   The last time I was in Paris, three and
a half years ago, I went to the studio where the
Pole still was, bought a bottle of wine, and burnt
about fifteen oil paintings and two hundred drawings
in a fit of rage.   I have learnt a lesson since, as, not
so very long ago, a man turned up and said that he
would like to  buy some drawings.    He looked
through dozens of drawings and finally asked me if
I had any oil paintings.   I looked in cupboards and
in corners and found some, and at last came to a
still-life, that I had very nearly put into the dustbin.
I took it out and showed it to him.   He gazed at it
for some time and asked me how much I wanted for
it.   I said " twenty guineas."   He thought for some
time and said, " I will give you fifteen guineas
down."    I said, " Yes."    Having not seen it for
some years I realized that it was not so bad as I had
thought.
I still lived in Modigliani's studio and painted
portraits of any kind of odd-looking person that I
could find. A friend of my Pole's had been to
Marseilles and there had found a Tunisian who was
a very tough character. He had brought him back
to Paris to be his cook, valet, and general servant.
He had very black eyes, in one of which was a cast.
He wore a check cap and a blue linen suit, no collar
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