HENRY MATISSE SENDS A HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS ON VERSO OF OFFSET LITHOGRAPH OF PIANIST AND CHECKER PLAYERS
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) Extremely Rare Handwritten Letter Signed, "H. Matisse", on the verso of a 5.75 x 4 offset lithograph of his oil on canvas work, Pianist and Checker Players (La Pianiste et les joueurs de dames) 1924 , Nice, France, January 13, 1951, in French, sending New Year's greetings to a Mademoiselle Michelle de Freston, by the French artist, known for both his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who best helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Comes with the original mailing envelope with postmark and French stamp. This wonderful hand-signed work of art is in fine condition, with tiny bump on upper right corner.
Through the 1920s, Matisse stayed in Nice from late fall to early spring of each year, while his wife and family remained in Issy-les-Moulineaux outside Paris. Pianist and Checker Players is set in Matisse's Nice apartment and shows the artist's favorite model, Henriette Darricarère, and her two brothers. The painting can be seen as a surrogate family portrait, with Henriette standing in for Matisse's daughter, and the two boys representing his sons. But regardless of the relationship between the artist and his subjects, this is distinctly Matisse's world: near the empty armchair at the center of the painting where the artist might sit, his violins hang from the armoire and his drawings and paintings are tacked to the wall.
The possible psychological complexities of the painting are more than matched by those of its pictorial organization. In few paintings does Matisse manage to control such an extraordinary proliferation of pattern and ornamentation. To this decorative profusion Matisse adds an equivalent abundance of perspectival viewpoints: piano, chairs, floor, and bureau are each pictured from different angles. Despite the wealth of pictorial elements, a curious, calm order of structured harmony prevails. Pianist and Checker Players is suffused with a warm glow made up of complementary tones of yellow and red.