Arthur Cravan – A bohemian life
Arthur Cravan (born Fabian Avenarius Lloyd on May 22, 1887, Lausanne, Switzerland) was known as a pugilist, a poet, a larger-than-life character, and an idol of the Dada and Surrealism movements. His father’s sister, Constance Mary Lloyd, was married to Irish poet Oscar Wilde. He changed his name to Cravan in 1912 in honour of his fiancée Renée Bouchet, who was born in the small village of Cravans in the department of Charente-Maritime in western France. Why he chose the name Arthur remains unclear.
His style of looking for the striking and shocking had some roots in the contemporary cult of the young man of action (athletes, soldiers, flamboyant artists) but strongly prefigured dadaism and even rock'n'roll attitudes.
Cravan set out to promote himself as an eccentric and an art critic, though his interest was showing off a powerful, striking personal style rather than discussing art. He staged public spectacles and stunts with himself at the centre, once acting on the front of a line of carts where he paraded his skills as a boxer and singer, although he never pursued either of these activities on stage with anyone else.
From 1911 to 1915 he published a critical magazine, Maintenant! which appeared in five issues. His rough vibrant poetry, and provocative, anarchistic lectures and public appearances (often degenerating into drunken brawls) also earned him the admiration of Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, André Breton, and other young artists and intellectuals.
Was married to Mina Loy, icon, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, Futurist, actress. Cravan was last seen at Salina Cruz, Mexico in 1918 and most likely drowned in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico in November 1918 (Salina Cruz).