Matisse, Henri, French artist (1869-1954). Autograph lettercard signed ("Matisse").

Issy-les-Moulineaux, [29 Feb. 1911, postmark].

Oblong 4to. 2 lines. Together with Matisse's visiting card.


To his student and alleged lover Olga Markowa-Meerson (1880-1930) with an urgent request for a telephone call: "Appelez-moi au téléphone sitôt que vous possez j'ai besoin de vous parler". On Matisse's visiting card somebody, possibly a doorman, noted in pencil: "Miss Meerson was not at home at 7:15 am" (transl.), suggesting that both objects are directly connected.

In only two lines, the lettercard attests to a famously turbulent teacher-student relationship. Matisse met the Russian Olga Markowa-Meerson, a talented painter, at the "Académie Matisse" that he had founded in 1908 and remained in contact after the closure of the academy in 1911. Markowa-Meerson modelled for Matisse and they allegedly started an affair. During this time, Markowa-Meerson executed one of the few portraits of Matisse, always a reticent sitter, which speaks of their intimacy. After a more than fraught late summer of 1911 spent together in Collioure, during which Markowa-Meerson experienced several mental breakdowns, Matisse broke off their relationship in the belief that only Olga's family would be able to provide for her. She subsequently moved to Munich, where she married the German music critic and composer Heinz Pringsheim (Thomas Mann's brother-in-law) in 1912. In 1929, Olga Markowa-Meerson took her own life in Berlin. In spite of her obvious talent, she is today largely forgotten as an artist, which will hopefully change in the future.

Stock Code: BN#63569 Tags: ,