Life and work
Huidobro was born into a wealthy family from
Chile. He spent his first years in Europe, and was educated by French and English governesses. Once his family was back in Chile, Vicente was enrolled at the Colegio San Ignacio, a
Jesuit secondary school in Santiago, where he was expelled for wearing a ring that he claimed was a wedding ring.
In 1910 he studied literature at the Instituto Pedagogico of the
University of Chile, but a good part of his knowledge of literature and poetry came from his mother, poet
María Luisa Fernández Bascuñán. She used to host "tertulias" or
salons in the family home, where sometimes up to 60 people came to talk and listen her talk about literature, with guests including members of the family, servants, maids and a dwarf.
 Later, in 1912, she would help him financially and emotionally to publish his first magazine "Musa Joven" (Young Muse).
In 1911 he published Ecos del alma (Echoes of the Soul), a work with
modernist tones. The following year he married Manuela Portales Bello. In 1913 he published Canciones en la noche (Songs in the Night).
 The book included some poems previously published in "Musa Joven" as well as his first
calligram, "Triángulo armónico" ("Harmonic Triangle").
In 1913, along with Carlos Díaz Loyola (better known as
Pablo de Rokha), he published three issues of the magazine Azul (Blue), and published both Canciones en la noche and La gruta del silencio (The Grotto of Silence). The next year, he gave a lecture,
Non serviam, in which he reflected on his
aesthetic vision. The same year, in "Pasando y Pasando"
 (“Passing and Passing”), Vicente explained his religious doubts, earning himself the reproach of both his family and the
The same year, he published "Las pagodas ocultas" (1916),
 and signed it for the first time as Vicente Huidobro.
In 1916, he traveled to Buenos Aires with
Teresa Wilms Montt, a young poet whom he had rescued from a convent. While in Buenos Aires, Huidobro outlined his
creationism literary theory, later a literary movement, and published "El espejo de agua" (The Mirror of Water).
Also in 1916, he moved to Europe with his wife and children. While passing through
Madrid, he met
Rafael Cansino Assens, with whom he had exchanged letters since 1914.
He settled in
Paris and published Adán (1916), a work that began his next phase of artistic development. Huidobro met and mixed with most of the Parisian
avant garde of this period:
Amedeo Modigliani and
In 1917, he contributed to the magazine Nord-Sud edited by
Pierre Reverdy, along with
Louis Aragon and
Max Jacob, until a disagreement with Reverdy forced him to leave the magazine. That same year he published Horizon carré, including poems previously shown in "El espejo de agua" translated to
French with the help of
In October 1918, Huidobro traveled to Madrid, making the first in a series of annual trips to that city. There he shared both
Creacionismo and his knowledge of the Parisian vanguard with the artistic elite. In Madrid, Vicente met with
Sonia Delaunay, refugees in
Spain, and resumed his friendship with
Rafael Cansinos-Assens. He started the literary movement
Ultraísmo, corresponded with
Tristan Tzara and collaborated with him on his
In 1919, he brought to Madrid a rough draft of the series of poems that would eventually become his masterpiece,
Altazor. That same year, he took some science classes and became interested in esoteric subjects like
Kabbalah among other forms of
While in Paris, he worked with
Amédée Ozenfant and
Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris) at L' Esprit Nóuveau, a magazine directed by
Paul Dermée. There he also worked for the Spanish magazines "Grecia", "Cervantes", "Tableros" and "Ultra".
El Liberal, a Spanish newspaper, journalist and literary critic
Enrique Gómez Carrillo published an interview with
Pierre Reverdy where he accuses Huidobro of antedating the edition of "El espejo de agua" and claims that he himself created "creacionismo". Grecia magazine took Huidobro’s side, and between August and September Huidobro traveled to Madrid to refute Gómez Carrillo’s claims.
Altazor and creacionismo
In 1921, Huidobro founded and edited an international art magazine, Creación (Creation), in Madrid. The magazine featured a
Lipchitz sculpture and paintings by
Juan Gris and
Albert Gleizes. In November he printed a second issue in Paris, titled Création Revue d'Art. In December he presented his famous lecture, La Poesía (Poetry), which served as prologue to his works Temblor de Cielo (Tremor of Heaven), and "Saisons Choisies" (Chosen Seasons).
The next year, Huidobro presented his theory of "Pure Creation" at "Branche Studio" in Paris, and then in
Stockholm.He wrote for the Polish magazine "Nowa Sztuka". In Paris, his "Painted poems" exhibition at the Théâtre Edouard VII was shut down for being too "disruptive".
In 1923, he published "Finis Britannia", a critique of the British empire, which provoked antipathy from the British and resulting in him receiving a postcard in support from
Mahatma Gandhi. In 1924 he was -arguably- kidnapped for this reason, disappearing for three days. Later in an interview, he briefly commented that the perpetrators of the kidnap were two "Irish scouts" but refused to give more details.
Huidobro continued with his diverse artistic activities in Europe, producing the third edition of "Création", where he published his "Manifeste peut-être" (Maybe Manifesto). Collaborator in this edition included
Juan Larrea and
Erik Satie. He joined the French
Masonic Lodge and met Spanish philosopher and writer
Miguel de Unamuno, who was exiled in Paris at the time.
In 1925 he returned to
Chile, where he edited and published "Acción. Diario de Purificación Nacional" (Action: Journal of National Purification) a
political newspaper where he criticised the state and reported fraudulent activities. He was consequently assaulted and beaten outside his home and, on 21 November, the newspaper was shut down. He started another newspaper, "La reforma" (Reform), in a symbolic gesture, young supporters of the progressive party declared him as their candidate for president. A bomb was then set off outside of his house, though Huidobro escaped unharmed. While in Chile, he wrote for the publications "Andamios", "Panorama" and "Ariel" and published "Automne Régulier" (Regular Autumn) and "Tout à coup" (Suddenly).
In 1926 published a fragment of what would become the fourth canto of "
Altazor" in "Panorama".
In 1927 he traveled to New York, where he met
Douglas Fairbanks and
Gloria Swanson, wrote a script for a film of his novel "Cagliostro",
 and wrote the "Canto a Lindbergh" (Song for Lindbergh) dedicated to aviator (
He returned to Europe by the late 1920s, where he began to write the novel, Mío Cid Campeador; he also continued his work on Altazor and began Temblor de Cielo (Tremor of Heaven). It was at this time that he discovered that he was heir to the
Marquisate of Casa Real. He also participated in the
Mandrágora, a Chilean surrealist movement founded in 1938. There was a scandal when he got married to Ximena Amunátegui in a
In 1930, while in the Italian
Alps, he wrote "La Proxima" (The Next), and published his poem "Chanson de I'oeuf et de l'infini" (Song of the Egg and Infinity) in the magazine "Revue Européenne" and a fragment of "Altazor", in French, in the June edition of "Transition".
In 1931, he went back to Madrid to publish "Altazor", where he attended
Federico García Lorca’s poetry recital "Poet in New York" and started his friendship with Uruguayan painter
Joaquín Torres García. The same year he published "Portrait of a Paladin" and the English versions of his "Mío Cid Campeador", "Temblor de Cielo" and "