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Blue eyes

Painting, 1934, 46×38 cm

Description of the artwork «Blue eyes»

The blue eyes of the Russian emigrant Lydia Delectorskaya did not alarm Madame Matisse at all when she first saw her husband's new assistant. These are not swarthy odalisks, so beloved by Matisse and cost so many nerves Amelie. Madame Matisse even invited Lydia to be her half-dressed half-companion and sincerely complained about her husband. Lydia was 22 years old, Matisse - 40 years more.

Once he saw Lydia quite differently - not just his quick assistant, not just the nurse's wife. A woman whom he immediately wanted to write. "Do not move!" - and followed the album and pencil. He wrote it all the time, could wake up in the middle of the night and demand to pose, never left her for a single moment. Madam Matisse did not like it. She voiced the condition: drive Lydia away. Delivered before the choice of "either - or", Matisse chose a family. He wrote an extremely correct letter of recommendation, in which he assured future employers of Lydia that she showed herself disciplined, diligent, capable ...

And very quickly discovered that he was no longer being written without Lydia. He was ready to give up his later love, but to abandon painting - no. Matisse asks her to return. And then Amelie leaves. In 1940 they divorced officially, but he did not marry Lydia. Just till the end of his days, she was close. He protects her from rumors, in the only monograph approved by him during his lifetime, written by Robert Escoli, Lydia Delectorskaya is mentioned as an "excellent secretary". But the pictures, the pictures gave out everything he was silent about-such tenderness in all his happy, joyful painting had never been seen before.

"Blue eyes" - one of the first portraits of Lydia, written by Matisse. He is less known than the legendary «Pink naked». But, it seems, contrary to its manifesto ("I do not create a woman, I create a picture"), here Matisse writes exactly Lydia and his attitude to it. Extraordinary warmth and tenderness filled this canvas. Perhaps, the only one Matisse portrayed with such intonation - his sleeping daughter Margarita.

The mood of the painting "Blue Eyes" is calm, peaceful. But this is not the peace of mind of his "Luxury, tranquility, pleasure", serene odalisksand open windows. Here the distance between the artist and the model, and, as a consequence, between the model and the viewer is minimal. In soft, relaxed hands, deep blue eyes, a simple striped dress is conveyed the sensation of something close and dear. The same intimacy we find in the picture written with Lydia "Sleep".

Matisse wrote to Lydia until the end of his days. Russian museums are indebted to Lydia Delectorskaya for the rich collections of Matisse paintings. Everything that the artist gave her, and even that she bought from him the same salary from him, Lydia after the death of Matisse donated to Russian museums.

Author: Alain Esaulova
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1934

Size: 46×38 cm

Artwork in selections: 30 selections

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