Matisse, Henri. (1869-1954) Maquette for a Baptismal Certificate, 1937
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Original maquette for a baptismal certificate by the important painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. The design, in black ink and blue gouache surrounded by a red border, touched in white, features the name François and the baptismal date of May 26, 1937, surrounded by flowers and the words "Il n'est pas necessaire d'espérer pour entreprendre et de réussir pour persévérer" ("One need not hope in order to undertake something, nor succeed in order to persevere.") Together with an autograph letter signed ("Henri Matisse"), 1 p, 4to, Nice, February 8, 1938, to M. Prade[?], transmitting the maquette. Drawing laid down, both pieces somewhat toned. 18 x 18 cm; 7 x 7.2 inches. Nicely presented in a double-sided frame under UV-Plexi.
The quotation is a paraphrase of one attributed to William I, Prince of Orange: "Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer." Matisse's treatment of the text, as threaded through a landscape of flowers, is in keeping with his underlying aim to discover “the essential character of things” and to produce an art “of balance, purity, and serenity,” as he himself put it in his “Notes of a Painter” in 1908.