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Portrait of Mrs Hutchinson
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About the item

[Matisses] pictures increasingly hung on the walls of the rich, smart and sophisticated, from David Tennant to the Clarks, the young Rothschilds and cultivated hostesses like Mrs. St. John Hutchinson []. In spite of all people say, I think hes delightful, said Mary Hutchinson. Hilary Spurling, Matisse The Master, London, 2005, p. 371\n\nThe subject of this magnificent portrait is Mary Hutchinson, a British writer, member of the Bloomsbury group, as well as a model and socialite. Born Mary Barnes in India and raised in Florence, in 1909 she moved to London, and the following year married the barrister St John Hutchinson, known as Jack. Shortly after her arrival in London, Mary was introduced to the Bloomsbury group through her cousin Duncan Grant and would soon become the lover of Clive Bell. Sharing with her husband a passion for art, she became a fashionable hostess, organising soirées at their London homes which were attended by the noted painters and writers of the day.\n\nRichard Shone wrote: Slim, poised, fashionably dressed, well read, she was introduced by Clive Bell to avant-garde painting and literature; she became a patron of the Omega Workshops, owned paintings by Gertler and Grant, Marchand, Derain and Matisse. Her taste for recent art was shared with her husband who was a valued supporter of the Contemporary Art Society. She was the friend and confidante of T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, Osbert Sitwell and, years later, Samuel Beckett. [] Mary Hutchinsons relations with Bloomsbury were not plain sailing; her social life was luxuriously fashionable compared with Bloomsburys more unadorned society. But she maintained cordial friendships within the circle and with Virginia Woolf developed a curiously passionate if wary friendship which intensified in later years (R. Shone in The Art of Bloomsbury: Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 103).\n\nThe present work was created in Matisses Paris studio in June 1936, and the sitting was arranged by the artists son-in-law Georges Duthuit, who was a writer and friend of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Matisse, who often chose specific costumes for his sitters, depicted Mary Hutchinson wearing a blouse by the British-born designer Charles James. The sitting resulted in two portraits of Mrs Hutchinson: Matisse kept one for himself, and the present one - the more elaborate of the two - was bought by the sitter, and has remained in her family to the present day. St John and Mary Hutchinson both admired Matisses art and owned his oil Intérieur à Nice, now in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum. On seeing his latest canvases during an exhibition at Paul Rosenbergs gallery in May 1936, Mary described them as little tiny brilliant pictures like jewels, [] just larger than the side of a book a womans head a figure with stripes and flowers but unbelievably brilliant (quoted in H. Spurling, op. cit., p. 372).\nThe present work was inherited by the sitters son, Jeremy Hutchinson, later to become Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, QC. A renowned criminal barrister, Lord Hutchinsons long career at the bar was abruptly postponed at its outset by the beginning of the second world war, throughout which he served with distinction in the Royal Navy. In the decades that followed, Lord Hutchinson became one of Britains most esteemed lawyers, defending Christine Keeler and Howard Marks as well as the publication of D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterleys Lover in a long career of watershed legal cases and causes célèbres. Lord Hutchinson was also a passionate promoter of the arts, becoming a trustee and later Chairman of  the Tate Gallery from 1980-84 as well as Vice-Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1974-79.\n\nIn this beautiful portrait Matisse has enriched the charcoal lines with the estompe technique, giving the figure a strong presence combined with delicate lines that define her face, costume and details of the interior. During the 1920s and 1930s, charcoal and estompe became Matisses preferred medium when working on paper, using erasure to remove the rough charcoal surface and to create texture. In his article Notes dun peintre sur son dessin published in 1939, Matisse described the advantages of this particular medium which allowed him, he wrote, to consider simultaneously the character of the model, the human expression, the quality of surrounding light, atmosphere and all that can be expressed by drawing (quoted in John Elderfield, The Drawings of Henri Matisse, London, 1984, p. 84).\n\nThe authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Wanda de Guébriant, who will issue a certificate at buyer's request.\nSigned Henri Matisse and dated 36 (lower left)
GB
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notes

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Wanda de Guébriant, who will issue a certificate at buyer's request.

medium

Charcoal and estompe on paper

creator

Matisse, Henri

dimensions

66 by 50cm.

exhibition

London, Tate Gallery; San Marino, California, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens & New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, The Art of Bloomsbury: Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, 1999-2000, no. 173, illustrated in the catalogue

literature

Letter from Henri Matisse to St John Hutchinson, 12th August 1936 Pierre Schneider, Matisse, London, 1984, illustrated p. 580 Richard Shone, 'Matisse in England and Two English Sitters', in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 135, no. 1084, July 1993, fig. 38, illustrated p. 481 Catherine C. Bock-Weiss, Henri Matisse: A Guide to Research, New York & London, 1996, no. 1039, mentioned p. 330 Hilary Spurling, Matisse The Master, London, 2005, mentioned p. 371 Charles James: Beyond Fashion (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2014, fig. 14, illustrated p. 25

provenance

Mr & Mrs St John Hutchinson, London (commissioned from the artist in 1936) Thence by decent to the present owners

signedDate

Signed Henri Matisse and dated 36 (lower left)

time_period

Executed in 1936.

time_range_end

1936

artist_range_end

1954

time_range_start

1936

artist_range_start

1869

consignmentDesignation

Property from The Estate of the Rt. Hon. Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, Q.C.

creator_nationality_dates

1869 - 1954


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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