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Bill Harris
(1920's ? - 1992) USA

Bill Harris

Art retoucher

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American artist, Christopher Isherwood met Harris Bill in the summer of 1943, and they began a love affair the following spring. The relationship lasted only as a casual friendship. Harris later moved to New York where he became successful as commercial art retoucher.

Bill HarrisIsherwood refers to Harris as "X" in his 1939-1945 diaries, and he calls him "Alfred" in My Guru and His Disciple .

Later Bill became Pancho Moraturi's lover. Moraturi was a wealthy Argentinean man, who was Bill's longtime lover, companion and supporter. In his April 1949 preface to The Condor and the Cows ("To the reader") Isherwood names Moraturi and Harris among those whom he wishes to thank for helping him and Caskey during their visit to Buenos Aires.

On January 1 1950, Bill Harris arrived to stay with Isherwood. He had come from New York to California to visit his mother, who was living in La Jolla. Bill was greatly excited by Jack Fontan, his new lover.

Bill Harris and Jack Fontan had met each other in the late fall and Bill had immediately moved in with Jack who was living in an abandoned synagogue. When the cold weather began, their waterpipes froze. Bill had to fetch water in pails from a shop below. The cold was so intense that they couldn't get warm even when holding each other in bed. Bill and Jack tried to remedy this by lifting the bed onto two chests of drawers - one at each end - over the gas oven, but, when they climbed into bed, the bed broke in half.

Bill HarrisSince they couldn't use the toilet, they had to shit into newspapers and then leave their shit packages outside the windowsill until they froze solid and could be carried downstairs and left in a trash can... Bill described these hardships to Christopher with the sentimental relish of an infatuated lover.

Bill Harris stayed at the Rustic Road house during most of January - from the 1st to the 11th, from the 17th to the 28th and from 31st to Febraury 3, when he returned to New York. The visit was a success, from Christopher's point of view; Bill was a model guest, helpful with household chores, always ready to make himself agreeable to callers and to keep himself occupied when Christopher had to work or go out.

Aside from this, he was a cheerful, responsive companion. He showed an interest in all Christopher's doings and concerns which seemed feminine in the very best way. This was anyhow a happy period in his life, because of Jack Fontan - and there is a peculiar pleasure in talking about a current love affair to a sympathetic ex-lover.

Bill and Christopher shared pleasant memories of sex with each other. Bill knew that Christopher's interest in Jack Fontan was therefore more than merely polite; it had a quality of identification. But Bill also knew that Christopher wasn't in the slightest degree jealous, wasn't carrying even the last ember of a torch. So the two of them could be perfectly relaxed together.

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Source: https://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/

All the pictures of Bill Harris on this page, are by George Platt-Lynes

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