Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Booster Editorial Staff: Hilaire Hiler

The best on-line resource for knowing the contents of the next issue of The Booster is the transcription of the Table Of Contents on Jim Haynes’ website.

Reviewing the Editorial Staff, I come across some unfamiliar names. There is Charles Norden, who is in fact Lawrence Durrell. Amongst a few other obscure (to me) names I'll explore, is Hilaire Hiler: Travel Editor.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota as Hiler Harzberg in 1898, Hilaire Hiler studied Art in the States before arriving in Paris in 1919. In 1923, he co-opened a jazz cabaret on rue Campagne Premiere called The Jockey Club (named for his business partner, a jockey). The club became a bohemian hang-out (see the drawing of the club he made, below right) at which Hiler played jazz piano.

The Jockey Club was the first after-hours club to open in Monparnasse. I assume Miller had been there.

(See a fair-sized colour image of a painting of The Jockey's exterior, made in 1929 by Archibald Motley).

In 1933, Anais Nin introduced Henry Miller to Hiler. Hiler became Henry's watercolour teacher and, for many years, his friend (letters written by Henry to Hiler still exist). In 1948, Hiler published Why Abstract?, for which Henry contributed a piece.

In 1936, Hiler moved to San Francisco to work on a mural at the Aquatic Park. So, in 1937, he wasn't around to actually be a Booster editor. He also doesn't appear to have contributed anything travel-related to the October 1937 issue. The title, then, seems to be honorary, referencing the wide travel he'd undertaken in his life.
Miller wrote an essay on Hiler called Hiler And His Murals, which appears on p. 278 of The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).
Years later, Hiler wrote a memoir of Miller called What I Remember Of Henry Miller, published in the International Henry Miller Letter from August 1963.

On-line Biographical references: 1) Hilaire Hiler Papers (Online Archive of New Mexico); 2) Edan Hughes ; 3) Collection of Alan Clodd [see item 60].

Artwork references: [top left] Bronson Gold by Hilaire Hiler (1931) from Wright Auction.
[middle right] The Jockey Club by Hilaire Hiler (1929) from Treadway Gallery.

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