While paging through the book, I found a letter typed on stationary from the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York. The letter is addressed to a college professor in Kingston, New York who had inquired about a poster from the gallery. It is signed by Pierre's wife, Maria-Gaetana Matisse. A quick Internet search revealed Pierre Matisse was the youngest son of the artist who opened a gallery in New York in 1931. I'm assuming this book belonged to the professor and she tucked the letter inside it. [I'm guilty of stuffing something inside books myself all the time!] Sometimes thinking about the journey a second-hand book may have taken is part of the fun of acquiring it. Pierre and Maria amassed a significant collection of 20th century art, donating over 100 of those works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Philippe de Montebello, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commented: "The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection is both an historic and highly personal one, assembled by an eminent art world figure who formed close friendships with many of the artists whose work he represented and acquired. The collection is also notable for the number of important works by Henri Matisse, bequeathed from father to son. We are extremely grateful to the Foundation for this generous and meaningful gift, which enormously enhances the Metropolitan's collection of modern art."
I know Knox Martin has much to say about Matisse, and I would love to hear the wisdom he commands of the master. Earlier in the week while in Boston, I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. The Terrace, Saint-Tropez (1904) hangs in the front room. I also credit my partner, James Brock (JKB), for continuing to share his knowledge and furthering our own intellectual curiosity about Matisse. His masterful pastel saluting Harmony in Red (1908) hangs in my sight as I write this. Matisse is forever near me.