ALS on Aristide Maillol’s Sculpture La Liberté enchaînée

Signed by Henri Matisse

Item: 21312
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MATISSE, HENRI. (1869-1954). French painter, sculptor, and printmaker. ALS. (“H. Matisse”). 2pp. 8vo. Paris, June 9, 1946. To a gentleman. In French with translation.

“Here I am in Paris – my departure is the reason for the delay of my answer to your letter of May 30 –

I am happy with the news that you give me concerning the transfer to Nice of La Liberté enchaînée [Freedom in Chains]. I believe that a beautiful place in the garden of King Albert facing the sea – similar to that of the centenary monument would look well on a pedestal of less than a meter – framed by trees – the sculpture of Maillol does well in for trees, and he was very proud of it – what a pity that I wasn’t able to see this in Nice – I would have had the pleasure of giving my opinion should I have been asked to do so.

As for Puget, the sculpture of Blanqui’s mask on his native house seems to me satisfactory given the way in which the monument in question was treated.

While apologizing again for the delay of my answer, please accept my distinguished feelings….”

L’Action enchaînée by Aristide Maillol

After training at the Académie and studying the works of van Gogh, Turner, Rodin, and Cezanne, Matisse developed his own colorful style and became known as a Fauvist or “Wild Beast.” In 1916, he visited Nice, and chose to live on the French Riviera for nearly four decades, where some of his most colorful and best known works were created.

French sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) moved to Paris at age 20 to study painting at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts and, with Paul Gauguin’s encouragement, worked in tapestry. In the 1890s, as a follower of Gauguin, he joined the ranks of the “Nabis,” artists who pursued pure form rather than symbolism or impressionism. But in 1900, an eye disease halted his painting and tapestry work, and prompted him to pursue a career in sculpture. His classically inspired nudes are robust, similar to the work of his contemporary Auguste Rodin, but while their subject matter is the same, the style of Maillol’s nudes is reserved in a manner akin to the ancient Greeks. In our letter, Matisse discusses Maillol’s sculpture La Liberté Enchaînée, a bronze nude commissioned for the Puget-Théniers commune by French socialist and revolutionary Louis August Blanqi (1805-1881) and completed in 1905. Matisse comments on Maillol’s death just two years prior to our letter.

The Jardin Albert I is one of the oldest public parks in Nice, located directly across from the ocean and known for its rare plants. In our letter Matisse mentions the allegorical Centenary Monument by André-Joseph Allar commemorating the annexation of Nice by France in 1793.

ALS on Aristide Maillol’s Sculpture La Liberté enchaînée

Signed by Henri Matisse

$4000 • item #21312

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