Umbrella Nails Wood
113 x 13 cm
The passion or, better, the obsession that Erik Satie had for the umbrellas is well know. Satie never left his umbrella behind, especially if the weather was fine. When he received money, Satie always bought an umbrella. In his articles, he wrote “my umbrella is very disturbed to lose me.” His friendship with Georges Auric ended as the poor George mistook his umbrella for one of Satie’s at a party. In the days of strong rain, it was possible to see Satie protect his umbrella under the coat, and swear at the bad weather. After his death, his friends forced open the door of his apartment (where nobody had over entered before) and in a small room they found more than one hundred umbrellas. Some of them had never been used.
Erik Satie and Man Ray met on December 3, 1921 during the first exhibit in Paris. As Man Ray recounts in his autobiography:
“A curious, loquacious, small man, in his fifties comes near me, bringing me in front of one of my own paintings. With his white beard, his antiquated glassed, the bowler hat, his coat and a black umbrella, He looked like a bank employee or a funerary official..
The preparations for the exposition had tired me, the gallery was not heated, I had a cold. I responded in English, he answered me in English, he took me by the arm and led me up to the cafe at the corner, where he ordered two grogs.
It was only at that moment he introduced himself, “Erik Satie,” and he continued talking in French. I answered that I didn’t understand. He looked me in a malicious and amused way and he said it didn’t matter. We drank several grogs, I began to feel warm and happy. Out of the coffee, we entered into a shop where different domestic utensil were set out. I noticed an iron, a model type in use with the coal stoves and with the help of Satie, I bought it and a nail box for upholsterer and also a little tube of glue.
I came back at the gallery, I glued a line of nails on the base of the iron, I gave it the name of “Cadeau” and I added it to the exhibit. It was the first Dadaist work I did it in France. I was going to distribute it by lot among my friends, but was stolen the same afternoon”.