Ecce Ego - The First Thing

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'All the exuberant force of New York blazed upward and outlined only itself, effacing the stars. Tonight, somehow, there was cohesion in all this'.

New York City in 1930 harsh and alive, is recounted in this autobiographical novella by Heinz Henghes. "The First Thing" is an exploration of young love, a portrait of a city and a deeply personal account of the young sculptors most formative years.

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Isamu Noguchi lived along the street from Heinz Henghes in New York. He first introduced Henghes to sculpture and was a formative influence encouraging him in his early work.

Constantin Brancusi taught Henghes marble polishing when he assisted him for a short time in his Paris studio.

Ezra Pound poet and driving force behind modernist movements in art invited Henghes to Rapallo in Italy and gave him his first stone to sculpt.

James Laughlin the publisher met Henghes with Pound in Rapallo and became a lifelong friend. An extensive correspondence between them exists in the Houghton Library archives at Harvard.

Kay Sage was married to Prince Ranier of San Faustino when she met Henghes in Italy. She became a painter and they were to exhibit together in Milan. Henghes later introduced her to her second husband Yves Tanguy in Paris. A poignant correspondence exists from the last years of Sages life.

Henry Miller the American writer was living in Paris when Henghes met him. They visited the Dordogne together with Jean Genet in 1938 despite a degree of animosity. Henghes wrote to Pound of him "He is the most rapacious person I have ever seen. Speaking to him you have the impression that you are being sucked out & that whatever is not useful to Henry Miller will be thrown aside but thoroughly cleaned out."

Jean Genet known for his books about the harsh world of societies disposessed was to be a friend over many years and Henghes made a portrait bust of him.

Anais Nin author of erotic novels wrote of her encounter with Henghes in Paris in her journal 'Nearer The Moon' describing herself as "a vampire... I ought to be ashamed to turn my full force and magic on him".

Yves Tanguy the surrealist painter was living and working in Paris at the time Henghes knew him.

Peggy Guggenheim ran the Guggenheim Jeune gallery in London at which Henghes exhibited. She accumulated one of the most important private collections of modern art.

Joan Wyndham met Henghes in London at the outbreak of war. She writes vividly of the bohemian life in her diaries published as 'Love Lessons', in which she gives him the psydonym 'Gerhardt'.

The Great Depression

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