Henri Matisse's Handwritten Response to a Request to Pose for a Painting
Item Number: 14600
Eminent French painter. Matisse ranks among the greatest artists of the 20th century. Scarce handwritten letter, entirely in Matisse's hand, 1 page, dated November 2, 1949, in French. At this time in his life Matisse said that all he could do was work, he dreaded the daily confrontation with form and color on the canvas and could not face it without the consoling human presence of the pretty young girls he paid to pose for him. "That’s what keeps me there, surrounded by my fruit and flowers which I get to grips with little by little, almost without noticing . . . and then I wait for the thunderbolt that is bound to follow.”The young women who posed for him all learned to live and work in the atmosphere of almost unbearable tension generated by Matisse’s effort to express his emotions on canvas—an effort that drained all his strength. He felt the same tension as when asked to pose himself.
Matisse writes: "Dear Friend, I am quite upset about having to write to you that I am too nervous to be able to pose. It is something that has always been painful for me. I have never been able to pose even for Marquet 50 years ago. Please believe, dear friend, in my regrets and in my best wishes. H. Matisse 2 nov 49 ". Matisse and Albert Marquet were among the foremost painters in the Fauvist movement. They met at and both attended the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, one of the most prestigious French Universities of art and design. Matisse and Marquet were roommates for a time and they influenced each other's work.
Wonderful associations between the two luminaries with interesting insight in Matisse's private nature and the great painter's own nervousness at being the subject and posing. In Excellent Condition.