Brzeska met Henri Gaudier-Brzeska in Paris in 1910 and they
were together until he left for the Front in France.
Gaudier-Brzeska died intestate in the Gloucestershire Mental
hospital at Barnwood in March 1925. H.S.Ede acquired her
estate in 1927 from the Treasury Solicitor, it included not
only her writings, but also the estate of Henri Gaudier,
with many of his works and papers. Ede drew extensively on
the letters written by Gaudier to Sophie and her writings
and other material when he published ‘A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska’
in 1930. The papers he used for this account are now in the
archives of Cambridge University, Essex University and the
Brzeska referred constantly to her ‘work’ and aspirations to
be a published writer, and consistently talked about them to
Henri Gaudier. She wrote a number of versions of her
‘Autobiography’ entitled ‘Matka’ but nothing in her own
words has previously been published.
book ‘Matka and other writings’ is from manuscript sheets
which have lain forgotten and unpublished for over fifty
years. One part of this group of papers is a version of
‘Matka’ and it includes her first meeting and her life with
Henri Gaudier, and their adoption of the name Gaudier-Brzeska.
It contains her account of what happened to her immediately
after Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was killed at the Front in
France in 1915 and graphically recounts her efforts and
trials to arrange a Memorial exhibition of his work, and
gives a frank view of how she felt his friends, T.E.Hulme,
Ezra Pound, Robert Bevan and others behaved towards her.
Also included are later postcards and letters to the artist
Brzeska wrote in both French and English and it is clear
from the language and tempo of the writings that she was
highly strung and emotional. When writing in English her
spelling becomes progressively more chaotic as did her
handwriting in both languages. The intention has been to
keep these elements evident in the translation and
transcription in order to be true to her character and
escalating emotional intensity, and to hear her unique
voice. Her ignoring of conventional punctuation has been
retained for the same reason.