Autograph letter signed, two pages (both sides), 8,25 x 10,5 inch, Vence (France), 23.04.1946, in French, to editor Jean Royère - concerning the preparatory work of Henri Matisse for his `Poésies Antillaises`* (Caribbean Poems) by John-Antoine Nau (1860-1918, real name Eugène Léon Édouard Torquet, was a French poet and writer most famous for his novel Enemy Force, which won the first Prix Goncourt in 1903), written and signed in blue ink "Henri Matisse", with intersecting letter folds and mild creasing - in fine to very fine condition. In parts: "Cher Jean Royère, Messein a du vous dire que je désirais faire une illustration en lithos d’un florilège des poésies de votre grand ami J.A. Nau. Il fut aussi mon ami et je fais avec une grande ferveur cette contribution à sa mémoire. C`est dans les 3 livres que je possède que j’ai glané une trentaine de pièces se rapportant à la Martinique, et que j’ai l’intention d’appeler `Poésies antillaises de J.A. Nau`. Je suis soutenu pour cela par des documents que j’ai pris en Martinique. J’ai pris 24 pièces dans Hiers Bleus, édité par Messein, 5 dans En suivant les goélands de Crès, et je n’ai pu trouver que deux dans Vers la fée Viviane que vous avez édité [paru en 1908 dans La Phalange, revue littéraire dirigée par J. Royère] Mon éditeur doit vous voir afin d’obtenir votre autorisation. Je vous prie de bien vouloir lui faire un bon accueil… [Suit le détail des pièces empruntées à l’édition de Jean Royère] … J’espère que ce que je vais faire vous sera agréable. Je m’efforcerai d’être à la hauteur de la grande affection qui vous liait. Je revois encore l’affectueuse anxiété qui l’agitait lorsqu’il attendait votre visite à la villa qu’il occupait dans le quartier des Caroubiers à St Tropez. C’est là que je vous rencontrai pour la première fois. Quel vieux souvenir pourtant si près, cependant de 1907, 40 années ! Je souhaite que votre santé soit restée bonne - la mienne a tronqué un peu… " Translated: "Dear Jean Royère, Messein must have told you that I wanted to make a lithograph illustration of an anthology of poems by your great friend J. A. Nau. He was also my friend and I make this contribution to his memory with great fervor. It is in the 3 books that I possess that I have gleaned about thirty pieces relating to Martinique, and that I intend to call `Antilles poems of J.A. Nau`. I am supported for this by documents that I took in Martinique. I took 24 pieces in Hiers Bleus, edited by Messein, 5 in Following the gulls of Cres, and I could find only two you published in Vers la fairy Viviane [published in 1908 in La Phalange, revue literary directed by J. Royère] My publisher must see you in order to get your permission. I kindly ask you to welcome him ... [Follows the details of the pieces borrowed from the edition of Jean Royère] ... I hope that you will like what I`m going to do. I will strive to live up to the great affection that binds you. I can still see the affectionate anxiety that agitated him when he was waiting for your visit at the villa he occupied in the Caroubiers district of St Tropez. This is where I met you for the first time. What an old memory yet so close, however, of 1907, 40 years! I wish your health has remained good - mine has deteriorated a little..." * Matisse greatly admired the poetry of Charles-Antoine Nau. They had first met with Signac in 1903 or 1904 and they were drawn together by a love of Martinique. Many years later, after Nau’s death, Matisse decided he wanted to make an album consisting of poems by Nau inspired by Martinique and to link them to a series of lithograph studies of Martiniquaise models. He began work on the album in 1945 and by mid 1946 he wrote to Fernand Mourlot, in whose studio the editions were to be printed, to say that the project was complete. It was in late 1946 that Mourlot started printing trial impressions of the lithographs but it was not until 1953 that they were linked to the text pages printed by Fequet, and a maquette for the finished album completed. However due to Matisse’s ill health, culminating in his death in 1954, the album remained unissued. In 1972 Matisse’s heirs and Fernand Mourlot agreed to print the edition of the album under the title ‘Poésies Antillaises’ scrupulously following the form of the maquette as finalised by Matisse. The work was published several times and was not published during his lifetime, also because of financial difficulties.
|Profession||French artist - he was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter 1869-1954|
|Year of birth||1869|
|year of death||1954|
|Size in inch (1 inch = 2.5 cm)||8,25 x 10,5|
|Condition||fine to very fine|
|Type of Autograph||letters|
|Expert comment||Exceptional item!|