On View In:
Gallery 359
Artist:   Henri Matisse
Marianna Alcaforado
Tériade, Paris
Mourlot Freres, Paris
Jourde et Allard  
Title:   Preface page from Lettres portugaises (Portuguese Letters)  
Date:   1946  
Medium:   Lithographs, letterpress  
Dimensions:   10 7/8 x 8 3/8 in. (27.62 x 21.27 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Bruce B. Dayton  
Location:   Gallery 359  

Portuguese Letters purports to be an old autobiography by Marianna Alcaforado who, abandoned by her faithless lover the French officer, seeks refuge in a convent. The story is told in deeply emotional letters written by the despairing Marianna. A Russian model, Doucia Retinsky, figures in the sequence of nun “portraits” that runs throughout the final volume’s printed text. Whereas the nun’s expressions are often sad or resigned, Matisse counters their mood with a variety of images of abundance filling margins around the text. If we feel Marianna’s despair, the unfulfilled passion that brims within her is also evoked in Matisse’s spirited descriptions of ripe pomegranates and other tropical fruits and flowers printed in violet ink.

Name:   Matisse, Henri  
Nationality:   French  
Life Dates:   French, 1869 - 1954  
Name:   Alcaforado, Marianna  
Role:   Author  
Nationality:   French  
Life Dates:   French  
Name:   Tériade, Paris  
Role:   Publisher  
Nationality:   French  
Name:   Mourlot Freres, Paris  
Role:   Lithographer  
Nationality:   French  
Life Dates:   France  
Name:   Jourde et Allard  
Role:   Printer  

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Mark Watermark:  
Classification:   Books  
Physical Description:   25 full page lithographs plus numerous ornaments and initials; binding: lithographic paper cover, printed in purple (unbound, loose sheets); 2nd cover beige cloth; endpapers: Arches wove; slip case: beige cloth  
Creation Place:   Europe, France, , , Paris  
Edition:   Edition of 250; 61/250 plus I-XX H.C. (first 80 copies have set of 12 proof studies)  
Accession #:   B.85.4.2  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts