To kick off the celebration of the 15th and final issue of A Café in Space, California artist and historian Eduardo Pineda discusses his two articles, “The Dreaming Tiger—On Gonzalo Moré” and “La Gitana—On Helba Huara,” which reveal the secrets and long-lost memories of Nin’s Peruvian lover Gonzalo Moré and his wife, the dancer Helba Huara.
As anyone who has read Nin’s 1930s and 1940s diaries knows, Nin met Gonzalo Moré at a party and was swept off her feet by his astounding presence, his Latin passion, and his utter bohemianism. When Nin visited Moré at his Paris apartment, she was shocked to find that he and his wife Helba were living in utter squalor. Once Nin and Moré commenced their decade-long love affair, she felt compelled to help him and Helba escape their sickly existence by giving them money for a new apartment, for food and medicine—Helba, at this time, had just fallen into a mélange of illnesses that incapacitated her and ended her once-celebrated dance career. While Huara was grateful for Nin’s financial support, she resented her presence in her husband’s live, and almost immediately a hate-infested relationship developed between the three of them. For ten years, it was a war between carnal passion and almost insane jealousy and hatred, a war in which the dark side eventually ultimately destroyed the Nin-Moré relationship in 1946. But before it ended, Nin and Moré founded the Gemor Press in New York to not only print Nin’s books, but also to provide Moré with a source of income. While the press produced several true works of art, Moré’s lack of discipline and Helba’s increasing demands on him for constant care rendered him unable to fulfill his duties as a printer.
Ironically, Moré came from a prominent Peruvian family and was due a significant inheritance. In order to save their relationship, Nin offered to send Moré back to Peru to get his inheritance, but his pride would not let him go—he was horrified by the idea of how his family would react to his sorry state of affairs and never went back.
Once the affair ended—and it ended bitterly—there were few entries in Nin’s diaries about Moré and Huara, and we, the readers, like Nin, lose track of them. There was confusion about how Moré and Huara left the country, when, and what happened next. Even the death date attributed to Moré in the published diaries (1966) turns out to be off by seven years.
But now, the lack of information and the mysteries have been in great part solved by Pineda’s dogged detective work, which has taken over twenty years. We find out how Moré and Huara met each other, how they had a daughter who Nin believed was Moré’s niece, and the incredible success Huara had as a performer of Peruvian indigenous dances, even to the point where she and Moré (who accompanied Huara on piano) appeared in New York City during the 1920s. We also discover that Huara was about to be awarded a national U.S. tour just as she fell ill, and how her plans for a return to dance many years later were tragically ended with an accident.
Listen as Eduardo Pineda reveals these details of the lives of these two once-famed but now enigmatic artists.
Run time: 50 minutes
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