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David Hatch (Brigham Young University)
Exhibitions…Dialogues. Du Bouchet..Beckett

    Nearly every study of Samuel Beckett refers to his "Three Dialogues: Tal Coat - Masson - Bram van Velde," written with Georges Duthuit, the French critic and editor of Transition 49. My presentation reexamines this work in the context of post-war Parisian aesthetic debate. In Duthuit’s journal, for example, André du Bouchet 's "Three Exhibitions: Masson - Tal Coat - Miró” precedes "Three Dialogues: Tal Coat - Masson - Bram van Velde," by Samuel Beckett and Georges Duthuit, which is followed by "Some Sayings of Bram van Velde." Clearly, this arrangement is designed to encourage comparison, and a close reading reveals that Beckett and Duthuit’s text is, in many ways, a pointed response to du Bouchet’s and Van Velde's statements.

    This summer I am traveling to France to study the Beckett/Duthuit correspondence housed in the Matisse archive. I plan to add to the work Lois Oppenheim has done on this correspondence by making additional connections between the dialogues and the aesthetic program of Duthuit's journal. While in Paris, I have also arranged to visit the archives of the three galleries (Galerie Louise Leiris, Galerie de France, and Galerie Maeght) that hosted the exhibitions about which Du Bouchet writes, and thus by extension, to which Beckett and Duthuit respond in their essay, as no catalogues exist and specific paintings discussed are not mentioned by name. I plan to reconstruct the exhibition catalogues, as much as possible, and to evaluate the ways that these particular works impact our reading of the dialogues.

    Since this research is pending, I can't be more specific about my presentation. I anticipate, however, that this project will make a good contribution to your conference as it will supply new primary source details and insights about Beckett's work.

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