Matisse, Henri. (1869-1954) Projet pour une Ceinture de Chasteté
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Playful drawing of a chastity belt, with a brief autograph letter on the verso to his friend, writer and artist André Rouveyre. 2 pp, signed "HM." Undated, ca. 1945. 21 x 14 cm; 8.5 x 5.5 inches. Set in a double-sided frame under UV-Plexi.
The artist has penned a sequence of ornamental designs, as well as an overall view of the belt, adding the texts "Projet pour une ceinture de chasteté / je crois plus efficace celle de Cluny, et encore!" ["Project for a chastity belt / I think more efficient than that of Cluny, and more!"] and "a quoi revent les jeunes filles!" ["what young girls dream of!"]. The verso with an appropriately humorous letter to Rouveyre, concluding with the statement that "it is 4 in the morning - excuse the illegible scrawl."
In the years 1941-1954 Matisse engaged in a unique correspondence with André Rouveyre, the French satirical draughtsman and writer (1879-1962), in which his ongoing production and innovation are reflected and refracted. Matisse and Rouveyre met as young students at the École des Beaux- Arts in Paris at the end of the 1890s, but the courses of their lives quickly became very different, and their paths diverged to a great extent over the subsequent years. Only when they coincidentally met again during the war, after Matisse’s operation, did their close friendship develop. The correspondence stands out from all others in its extent and frequency – for long periods they wrote to each other daily, sometimes several times a day – and in its abundance of drawings, sketches and decorated envelopes by Matisse. The letters, which are typified by intimacy and irresistible humor, speak of both the events of everyday life and Matisse’s work and thus provide us with unique insight into the artist’s creative process and his thoughts on his life and work. See: Matisse-Rouveyre: Correspondance (Finsen, 2001).