Leon Trotsky: revolutionary, author, -- philistine?
From a 1951 interview with André Breton:
Q. What was the "climate" of your meetings with Trotsky?
A. I won't pretend that vast educational and other differences between Trotsky and his usual interlocutors -- Rivera, his wife [Kahlo] and myself -- did not occasionally lead to some flare-ups in our daily relations. No matter how great our deference, and despite the care we took to contradict him as little as possible, we couldn't entirely avoid banding together out of an "artistic" temperament that was fundamentally alien to him. . . .
[H]is own understanding of artistic problems was average at best. He was visibly pained when one of us paused to handle a piece of pre-Columbian pottery. I can still see the reproachful look he gave Rivera when the latter maintained (which was hardly extravagant) that drawing had been in decline since the cave period; and how he exploded one evening when we casually remarked in his presence that once a classless society was established, new causes of bloody conflict -- that is, causes other than economic -- would surely arise.
But these were fleeting disagreements, which could not damage the basic harmony of our relations.
The above is from an interview with André Parinaud, reprinted in Conversations: The Autobiography of Surrealism
(1993)(Mark Polizzotti, tr.; Marlowe & Co.: NY)
The excerpt is fascinating and hilarious from at least four different directions.