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Matisse, Henri (1869 – 1954)

An llustrated letter from the artist to his daughter

Autograph letter signed, ‘H.’, in French, one page both sides, no date. A letter to his daughter Marguerite, who acted as his model, muse, and manager.

He opens (translated): ‘My dear Marg, Marquet arrived yesterday. He is already much better today than he was the last days in Paris. He brought me your two letters. Here are my answers: As for the Landsberg… don’t worry about it, but have them re-photographed anyway. I am waiting to hear what Desjardins has to say, but did you tell him what I told you to: what do you base your confidence on, considering you’ve never been that afraid? What was his answer? How was the festival? Did you go see the Spanish exhibit at the Petit Palais Paris? And the new rooms at the Louvre? Did you show Desjardins what you sent to Sebileau? It seems clear to me. What does he think of it?’ In the left margin, he adds: ‘Use Jean to take care of the ivy by the veranda. It covers the gutter and needs to be cut back and attached in front.’ At the top of the page, he writes: ‘You will receive the oil; it didn’t get sent until the 15th of April.’

Matisse continues: ‘Remember that it is because the ring of the trachea that has been cut has not developed, he said that he would cut back the cartilage a little to enlarge it. Tell Desjardins when you see him. I haven’t had time to work out my contract with Halv. Bernheim. I’ll do it one of these days. Amusing, the Derain-Halvorsen divorce, the court. To move around the oak frame is too large. What is needed it something smaller. It shouldn’t be bigger than 1 m of the hanging rail. I’ll see what you will suggest.’ Matisse sketches a quick diagram of boxes. In the left margin, he writes: ‘I am expecting Romains and his wife for dinner with Marquet. I hope you will get back in shape for your operation. I send hugs to all four of you. H.’

In fine condition. The artist touches upon his 1914 portrait of Yvonne Landsberg — and his daughter’s ailment; Marguerite wore a black ribbon around her neck to hide a three-inch scar from surgery on her trachea and larynx, as seen in Matisse’s many famous portraits of her. He also refers to his lifelong friend, the Fauvist painter Albert Marquet, as well as the world-famous Louvre Museum. A desirable autograph letter boasting a number of important associations.